Soon after starting work as a private doctor over 26 years ago, Charles Levinson founded Doctorcall; the UK’s first service to provide 24-hour private GP visits. From their London-based clinic, Doctorcall soon grew to incorporate a range of medical services, including flu vaccines, an area in which they now have more than 15 years of experience. This expertise in the delivery of vaccines now sees Doctorcall work alongside ADVO Group. In this latest interview, Charles discusses the key benefits of these vaccines for employers and employees alike, as well as the company;s key innovations .
Doctorcall offers a number of key services. Which of these do you think are currently the most highly in demand and why do you think this is the case?
Demand for our flu services continues to grow and this year we will provide over 45,000 flu vaccinations. It remains most effective method for employers to protect their workforce against seasonal flu bugs.
Which services do you predict may become increasingly important in the future?
Increasing pressures on our NHS services mean that short-term sickness absence whilst waiting for a GP appointment, and time out of work to attend an appointment near the employee’s home, represent a major cause of unplanned absence. Doctorcall has developed corporate GP membership schemes which are designed to target this. They’re becoming increasingly popular, especially with younger employees who are often less interested in PMI.
Doctorcall established itself in the late 1980s by providing an innovative visiting doctor service. What are some of the other key innovations the group has achieved since then?
In addition to the visiting doctor services, flu vaccinations program and flu vouchers already mentioned, as part of our occupational health services we were first to offer health screening by questionnaire for companies.
ADVO Group will be working alongside Doctorcall in the management of ADVO’s flu vaccination programme. How vital a benefit do you think flu vaccinations are for employees and employers, as well as for private individuals?
Flu not only effects individuals in terms of their own health and ability to work, but as it often effects large groups of people at the same time, it can reduce overall productivity and in some cases, the ability of businesses to deliver their services.
By having a flu jab we not only protect ourselves and our colleagues at work, but also our family, friends and especially those at greatest risk of serious illness such as the very young and elderly.
What are some of the key perks through receiving a flu vaccination from Doctorcall in particular?
The service developed since it was started over 15 years ago into the most efficient and reliable service of its kind delivering it to more than 700 businesses nationwide. We use our experience to take the pain out of a vaccination programme by doing as much as possible for our clients. Our emphasis is on flexibility and giving our clients what suits them. We work with them to make arrangements as convenient as possible, from start to finish.
We help clients communicate the programme to staff; provide an on-line booking process for staff to arrange their own appointment. We deliver everything that is required; and we remove all waste at the end of the programme.
The services you provide have an extremely high level of immediacy; you are available round the clock and doctors can reach people within a couple of hours at work or home. How important do you think this immediacy is for people’s healthcare needs today and how do you think this has evolved over time?
As people work further away from home, commitments to family and work will increase the demand for services outside of “normal working hours”. It’s become normal for us to expect retailers to be available 24-hours a day. Increased demands for 24-hour service in other important areas including healthcare is inevitable
The Doctorcall website provides some great free tips for maintaining good health. What are some of the best tips and resources people can find on the site?
We try and give useful information on our website. However, there is a huge amount of free information available and the key is to work out what applies in your particular case (and what is up to date.) We focus on offering individual advice and our website has a great new portal where clients can book that on-line.
What would summarise as being one overall core benefit of Doctorcall and the services it offers?
We have been reactive in developing the service to meet the precise requirements of our corporate customers. The service has therefore effectively been designed by the users and our clients comment on how often it is spot-on in meeting their needs. If a client needs a tweak to a service to make it fit better, then we are delighted to assist because that is how we develop and improve our service.