CAMPAIGNERS staging a noisy demonstration warned yesterday against private companies exploiting the NHS crisis.
They were protesting outside the Manchester headquarters of firm Push Doctor, which the protesters say is profiting from charging people to “see” GPs online.
Health Campaigns Together, which organised the demonstration as part of the People’s Assembly’s Take Back Manchester week of demonstrations and events during the Tory Party conference in the city, said the company has been found by the Care Quality Commission watchdog to provide “unsafe” and “ineffective” medical care.
Doctors in the Unite union complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) earlier this year about misleading claims that people would see a doctor when they would only receive an online consultation.
The letter to the ASA said: “We are NHS GPs and know that enterprises such as Push Doctor can only flourish because of the crisis in general practice brought about by deliberate underfunding.”
Keep Our NHS Public slammed Push Doctor adverts bearing the slogan: “You’ll never go to your doctors again,” warning that they were dangerous.
On its website, Push Doctor advertises individual consultations at £20 with an additional 10 minutes costing £20, referrals and sick notes at £15 and a prescription administration fee of £8.
Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public secretary Hugh Caffrey told the Star: “We are protesting against the profiteering of private companies exploiting people’s illnesses.
“Push Doctor is a symbol of the expansion of corporate profit at the expense of public health.
“We want an NHS renationalised, democratically accountable, fully funded and fit for the 21st century, not the Push Doctor model of the 19th century.”
Push Doctor had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at the time of going to press.