Letter from the Chief Inspector of General Practice
We rated this service as Good overall.
The key questions are rated as:
Are services safe? – Good
Are services effective? – Good
Are services caring? – Good
Are services responsive? – Good
Are services well-led? – Outstanding
We previously inspectedDrThom/LloydsPharmacy Online Doctorin May 2017. The full comprehensive reports for these inspections can be found by selecting the ‘all services’ link for on our website atDrThom/LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.
We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection at DrThom/LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor on 17 September 2019 as part of our inspection programme and to provide a quality rating.
DrThom/LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor are an online (digital) GP service that offers a range of general medical services that include postal testing, remote treatment and remote advice. The service can be accessed through their website, onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com. This is a fee-based service and is available only for patients in the UK. We inspected the online service known as Dr Thom/LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, we did not inspect the provider’s affiliated pharmacies which are based throughout England.
At this inspection we found:
- The senior management team demonstrated they were a driving force dedicated to delivering the mission of the service. All staff we spoke to felt valued by the leaders and said there was a high level of staff support, engagement and development.
- Patients safety was their priority. The service had good systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen. When they did happen, the service learned from them and improved their processes.
- The service routinely reviewed the effectiveness and appropriateness of the care it provided. It ensured that care and treatment was delivered according to evidence- based guidelines.
- Patients could access care and treatment from the service within an appropriate timescale for their needs.
- There was a strong focus on continuous learning and improvement at all levels of the organisation. They effectively used the skills and abilities of their staff team to provide innovative and accessible care, treatment and support to their patients.
- The service had comprehensive business development strategy and quality improvement plan that effectively monitored the service provided to assure safety and patient satisfaction.
- There was a commitment and appetite to work with external partners including the NHS and the third sector to share learning and make the service as accessible as possible.
We saw the following areas of outstanding practice:
- There was a Get-Grow-Keep’ strategy where they developed staff skills, competence and knowledge and encouraged staff development opportunities linked to the strategy. They had sponsored one of their GPs to receive training to develop an algorithm to ensure advice and information is given in digestible bite sized chunks throughout the interactive consultation as well as the information being saved in the patient record for later reference.
- The provider demonstrated commitment to system-wide collaboration and leadership. The provider was part of the Sexual Health London (SHL) joint commissioning model, which included an NHS Trust and an integrated diagnostic company who provided remote/self-sampling sexual health services. This has allowed them to improve the process of follow-up and referring patients back to NHS clinics. This is the first collaborative commissioning model of its kind across London and in UK as a whole.
- The provider held quarterly external education activities for GPs free of charge. The most recent education session covered Digital health – the changing face of medicine, Heart Rhythm Disorders and Women’s Health Update. These are usually attended by 30 - 40 GPs.
Dr Rosie Benneyworth BM BS BMedSci MRCGP
Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care