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Norwegian private GP platform Dr.Dropin launches in London as NHS waiting times grow

Dr Dropin claims its distinctive high-street clinics will give patients access to world-class healthcare services, at a fair price, however and whenever they need it. (Dr Dropin)
Dr Dropin claims its distinctive high-street clinics will give patients access to world-class healthcare services, at a fair price, however and whenever they need it. (Dr Dropin)

A Norwegian private GP platform has launched in London in a bid to offer an alternative to patients stuck on weeks-long NHS waiting lists.

Dr Dropin, which was founded in Oslo in 2017, has opened its first site in Fulham with plans for a further three openings in the capital by the end of the year.

The Fulham clinic offers 15-minute GP appointments from £79 in person or £59 for a virtual consultation. The same-day appointment slots are likely to prove attractive to Londoners unable to get urgent appointments at their local GP surgery.

As many as one in 20 patients has to wait at least four weeks to see a GP, recent NHS figures have shown, with at least 1.5 million appointments in England at a GP surgery having taken place four weeks or more after they were booked in November 2023 alone.

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The waits have prompted a surge in demand for private medical treatment, with health insurer Vitality reporting a ten-fold increase in the proportion of claims made for GP consultations compared to 2015.

Daniel Sørli, founder and Chief Medical Officer of Dr.Dropin, said: “Patients across the country are struggling to see a GP in person and that is leading to worse health outcomes, with diagnosis of treatable diseases and conditions being missed or delayed. At the same time, there is very low morale among clinicians and many are burnt out.

Sørli added that he hoped to create “a middle ground between what the NHS offers and the expensive exclusive private medical services for the very affluent.”

Dr. Dropin now has dozens of clinics in Norway and attracted a valuation of more than £60 million in a 2022 funding round. In Norway 80% of its new patients have never been to a private doctor before.

The firm also recently acquired skindoc, a UK based online dermatology service started by consultant dermatologists Dr. James Denny and Dr. Sreedhar Krishna. Until now skindoc’s service has been online only, but patients will be able to see dermatologists in person in Fulham.