NUFFIELD Health Newcastle Hospital has announced it is launching a private GP service, providing doctors’ consultations to those who may struggle to access regular GP appointments.

The service will be available to anyone and accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis, with appointments available at evenings and weekends, as well as during the week.

It is thought the private appointments, that will be a minimum of 20 minutes long, will prove popular with those working and living in and around Newcastle who may struggle to access other medical services at short notice, or find it hard to fit appointments around work.

There will initially be three GPs, Dr Pipin Singh, Dr Kelly Hermuzi and Dr Riaan Swanepoel, providing appointments at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital, with others expected to join as the service grows.

Dr Pipin Singh qualified as a GP in 2010 after studying at Newcastle Medical School. Alongside his role at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital Dr Singh works a GP partner in North Tyneside, a GP trainer and also lectures at Newcastle University. His specialist interests include general medicine, men’s health and diabetes.

Having also studied at Newcastle Medical School, Dr Kelly Hermuzi qualified as a GP in 2013 after gaining further experience working in hospitals in the north of England and New Zealand. Alongside her role at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital she divides time between her work as a partner of a busy NHS practice in the West of Newcastle, as a GP in the RVI’s Emergency Department and as a school medical officer.

Dr Riaan Swanepoel undertook his undergraduate medical training in his native South Africa before completing professional exams in general practice and paediatrics in London. Alongside his role at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital he is an NHS GP and is the named GP for safeguarding (both adults and children) for two local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Stacey Brunton, sales and services manager at Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital, said: “We know from talking to patients at the hospital that many struggle to access their regular GP and were looking for a flexible service which they could fit around their busy lives.

“The NHS provides a fantastic service but we know that there can be long waiting times and appointments have to be kept fairly short due to pressures on resources. Our new service will provide an alternative for those who don’t want to wait to see their regular GP or who want an appointment outside of normal practice hours.

“Our appointments will also be longer than average GP appointments – around 30 minutes – meaning they are perfect for patients looking for a more extensive consultation or who have a number of issues they wish to discuss at once.

“We know that life is busy and we see this new service as complimenting existing NHS provision by offering an alternative for those patients who may otherwise put off seeing a doctor, or have to take time off work to do so.”

An advantage of the service being based within the hospital is that any investigations needed, such as blood tests or x-rays, can also be carried out at the time of the GP consultation, or the following day. It also means referrals to other specialists within the hospital can be done more quickly.

Services included within the GP service include diagnostic imaging (including ultrasound, MRI and mammograms), electrocardiograms, physiotherapy/rehabilitation, general lifestyle advice (including weight management, smoking cessation and cholesterol levels), referrals to hospital consultants, an onsite pharmacy, onsite pathology, Well Man and Well Woman Screening, home visits, prescriptions, contraception and ear syringing.

The service will not cover emergency or out-of-hours care, minor surgery, issue of sick certificates, chronic condition monitoring and repeat medications, and consultations relating to pregnancy problems, prescriptions for controlled drugs, contraceptive Coils or implant services.

For more information about costs and appointment times, please contact 0191 2125232.

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