Online GP service Doctaly is crowdfunding to accelerate national expansion.

The platform enables NHS doctors to see private patients around their contracted NHS core hours, in a similar model to that seen in dentistry.

The company claims that a successful pilot in London last year showed both GPs and patients welcomed the concept, with patients paying for 500 appointments over six months in 10 practices in Barnet and Enfield. It now has 25 London practices and 50 GPs signed up.

The concept of introducing private consultations around the schedule of an overburdened NHS is a controversial one.

“Every Doctaly patient is one less person in the NHS queue,” said Ben Teichman, co-founder and CEO of Doctaly.

“Our London pilot proved that both GPs and patients welcome the flexibility of the service, the ease of booking and the opportunity for a 15-minute, face-to-face appointment, on their terms."

Doctaly is launching a Crowdcube campaign today. With a minimum investment of £10, the firm is looking to raise £500,000 over four weeks.

It aims to be in every major city in the UK by the end of 2018. Funds will also be used for continued product development, including mobile apps to enhance the service, as well as on marketing.

“We now know there is significant appetite for Doctaly and our Crowdcube campaign gives everyone the opportunity to buy into this exciting concept," added Teichman.

“Not only will they have equity in the business, they will also be helping to ease the burden on the NHS and improve patient access to GPs across the country.”

The consultations last 15 minutes – five minutes longer than the NHS standard - and cost between £39.99 and £69.99, depending on the day and time.

Patients who invest £100 in the firm will be given one free Doctaly GP appointment, with those investing £250 given three and those who invest £1,000 given five.

All these appointments can be booked over the next 12 months and can be used by friends and family of investors.

In addition, GPs who invest £150 or more and sign up with Doctaly as an active participant will retain all appointment revenue generated for the first six months from the point of creating their Doctaly profile.

Any GP who invests £1,200 or more and signs up with Doctaly as an active participant will also be sent an Alive Cor Kardia medical grade ECG device.

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