Staying Safe using online doctor services

Are you using an online healthcare service, or thinking about using The Doctor Service? We look at the CQC advice on making sure you get a professional service from qualified doctors to prevent putting your health at risk online.

So what should you look for in an online doctor service? We have summarized advice provided by the CQC in our 6 steps to staying safe online…

Check they are registered with the CQC.

Online doctor services must be registered with the CQC. All registered online services with the CQC must ensure they’re providing safe, effective, high-quality and compassionate care. These services need to go through vigorous inspections to ensure they do not put patients at risk, and provide a good service.

Check details about the service.

If you are ordering in the UK, then you should use a UK-based service to ensure that the medication you order has been prescribed by an adequately qualified professional which complies with standards expected of UK-based services.

You can also easily contact the service if required, and you know how they are storing your data and not using it for other purposes as they will comply with the relevant legislation if based in this country.

Are you clear how much that service will charge?

What are the hidden costs? Including the cost of dispensing and delivering the prescription?

Some websites don’t make this completely clear and once you’re paying or using the service, the price you’re going to pay is much higher than what you thought. It’s important to keep an eye on these hidden charges.

Who is giving you advice or dealing with your order request?

Know who your doctor is and check they are registered on the General Medical Council which is the UK regulatory body for all doctors in the UK.

Online prescription services should have the name of the doctor who has signed your prescription on the prescription, which should clearly show the name and GMC registration number of the doctor. You can check the GMC register here.

If you have received a prescription, have you been given clear advice on what it’s for, how to take it, and the possible side effects?

You should make sure that you’ve been given adequate information on the treatments you’ve requested. All treatments must come with clear instructions on how to use, and information regarding side effects.

You should also be given advice about when you need to seek further professional advice about treatments. All medicines must come with a patient information leaflet within the box, and you should be able to see the expiry dates of medications.

If you’re requesting tests online who’s reviewing these results?

How will they share the tests and provide you follow up support? It’s important to know who’s reviewing your results and this may change how they’re interpreted and what information you can get from your results.

You need to check they have the right qualifications so you know you’re getting the right interpretation of your results. Often results aren’t black and white and understanding the meaning of blood results can be quite difficult.

Once you have test results it’s also important to know that advice you’re given including treatments and follow up testing is necessary and not going to put you at risk of harm.

If you follow these steps and you can answer the questions, then it’s likely you’re using a reputable and safe service.

At TheDoctorService.co.uk we have the right procedures in place to ensure that you get a high quality service online. If you have further questions please contact us via the website, or you have specific concerns about an organization, you can contact CQC directly via their website.

For further information click on the link to take you to the CQC website.

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