Let patients know your availability during Covid-19 crisis

By a staff reporter

Bupa is urging consultants to use a new feature on its online directory – Finder – to help them manage patients’ expectations about their availability during the Covid-19 outbreak.

As private hospitals work in partnership with the NHS to boost its capacity to manage pandemic patients, the necessary refocusing of resources is affecting consultants’ availability to offer private care.

To help consultants during the outbreak, Bupa has added a new feature to Finder. It means consultants can let the website’s visitors know whether they are still accepting new patients and, if they are, what type of consultation options they can offer (face-to-face, phone or video). 

All consultants need to do is log into their Bupa Providers Online account and select ‘Update my Finder profile’ on the screen’s left-hand side.

Then they can tick to confirm their availability. Consultants can log in to update the information whenever anything changes.

Bupa will then use this information to update Finder immediately so that everyone can see availability when they are searching for consultants. 

The insurer will also use it to update its systems so that its member services advisers can let patients know when they call to pre-authorise their care. 

Online directory

Dr Luke James

Finder, an online directory of healthcare professionals and services, is used by Bupa patients and the wider public and gets 70,000 visits a week.

Bupa UK insurance medical director Dr Luke James said: ‘We’re totally behind the private hospitals supporting the NHS, indeed our own hospital The Cromwell is among them. 

‘We recognise the implications of refocusing resources into the areas of most critical need and we want to support consultants who are having to prioritise patients’ care. We hope this new Finder feature will help them manage patients’ expectations during this difficult time.’

Mr Ian McDermott

The Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO) and Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) both support the initiative and encouraging their members to use the new function.

FIPO co-vice chairman Mr Ian McDermott said: ‘FIPO urges all consultants to update their availability on the Bupa Finder site ASAP to ensure that patients and referrers alike are aware of the ability of each consultant to still see patients during this extremely difficult time.

Dr Sean Preston

‘I’ve updated my own details on the site, and it’s very quick, easy and straightforward, and it took literally just seconds.’

IDF specialist committee chairman Dr Sean Preston said: ‘This is a very efficient way of reconnecting our members with their patients during these troubling times. Bupa’s support with this communication and non-patient facing consultations is greatly appreciated.’