Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the way we engage with our regular GPs and after 18 months of various pandemic restrictions, telephone consultations have become the norm.
While many patients have found telephone consultations to be very convenient, GP surgeries work to standard office hours and typically won’t provide an afterhours service or weekend service.
GP consultations can also be expensive – particularly if you have a family and a number of you fall ill around the same time.
With the typical GP consultation costing around €60, fees can mount up pretty quickly.
It is therefore not surprising that online doctor services have become so popular.
Free GP consultations online
Ireland’s three health insurance providers, VHI, Laya and Irish Life Health all offer a GP consultation service that can be accessed via the phone, or in some cases online.
The consultations are free, meaning that you can save hundreds over the course of an average year on your regular GP consultations.
Typically, consultations are available 24/7 to give you the flexibility to arrange an appointment time that suits you.
VHI’s Online Doctor service
VHI members on certain plans can use the insurer’s ‘Online Doctor’ service to access a qualified GP over the phone and an online prescription service.
VHI also provides a NurseLine service where member can speak to a qualified nurse over the phone at any time of the day or night.
Laya Healthcare and GPlive
Laya’s offering is called GPLive and provides face-to-face video consultations with a qualified GP and access to private prescriptions.
Right now, Laya is offering all members free, uncapped access to GPLive until 31 December 2021.
Irish Life Health’s Digital Doctor
All Irish Life Health members have free, unlimited access to Digital Doctor 365 days a year.
The service gives members 24/7 access to GP consultations either on the phone, or if you prefer face-to-face consultations, via video call. GPs can also arrange fr a prescription to be sent to your local pharmacy if required.
Irish Life Health members can also access the Nurse on Call service for non-emergency advice from a qualified nurse.
What symptoms online GP consultations can be used for
The typical types of symptoms and illnesses that an online GP can deal with include coughs, colds, chest infections, mild nausea, urinary infections and sore throats, to minor aches and pains, mild ear and nose complaints and travel and medication advice. Each insurer’s online GP service may differ so check your policy terms prior to booking an appointment.
Depending on the nature of your symptoms or illness, your online GP may refer you to your regular GP for an in-person examination.
How to access unlimited free GP consultations
If you have VHI, Laya or Irish Life Health cover, check your policy to confirm whether you have access to your online GP service (Irish Life Health provides access to Digital Doctor across all plans).
If you don’t have health insurance, why not talk to our experienced team at Hennelly Finance to find a package that suits you?
We can compare the market and find the right cover to suit your budget and your specific needs.
After all, the money you could save on GP consultations with an online service alone could go some way to paying part of, if not much of, your annual health insurance plan fee.
To find out more about health insurance, get in touch with the Hennelly Finance team today on 091 670 123.