Private care is more than video consultation

The unique selling point of independent medicine is personalised – and excellent – care, which will become even more desirable after the pandemic. But how viable will our practices be? Independent Doctors Federation president Dr Neil Haughton sees a long road ahead.

Dr Neil Haughton, IDF president

It seems unlikely our routine will return to anything approaching normal for many months. 

The situation may be marginally better by the time you read this, but I doubt it; our lives have changed possibly forever. Some of us have suffered severely from the virus and some have died. 

Most have had our practices hugely impacted with reduced turnover and furloughed staff or been forced to close altogether. 

The remarkable response of the NHS to the crisis and the willingness of private providers to supply hospitals, equipment and staff is a testament to the national spirit of co-operation and was an essential response. 

It is also not the time to raise the plight of private doctors whose businesses might have been blighted in the same way as many other sectors. 

Any profiteering has rightly been condemned and, as president of the IDF, I am mindful that my priority is supporting our members as much as we can and not publicly declaring how dramatically private medicine has been affected. 

That stance will eventually become more relevant, but I doubt whether the future will be as secure as we anticipated earlier this year, so I wanted to consider the ways Covid-19 might affect our sector in the future.