Updated 7 April 2021
Vir Health is a digital health service providing online and telephone consultations on a specified range of health conditions. It is a service aimed at adults; all patients must be over 18 years of age. The service is mainly aimed at men’s health addressing conditions affecting their self-esteem, confidence and lifestyle. The conditions treated are erectile dysfunction, hair loss and premature ejaculation with a combination of medical and non-medical products, supported by informational content that educates men around these issues. Other conditions treated are acid reflux and asthma as well as smoking cessation treatment which are available to both men and women.
People sign up for the service through the provider website, they complete online questionnaires which are reviewed by pharmacist independent prescribers with the support of the chief medical officer and the lead GP. Prescriptions are dispensed by a partner pharmacy and delivered to patients. Patients can also purchase blood test kits which are sent to an independent laboratory for screening. GP consultations following a blood test are provided to patients by a third party.
There are 12 pharmacist independent prescribers with clinical oversight provided by a lead GP and the chief medical officer. There is a management and administration team and a customer services team.
The provider is registered with the CQC to carry out the following Regulated Activities: Transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely and treatment of disease, disorder or injury.
Vir Health Limited has a registered manager in place. A registered manager is a person who is registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the service is run.
How we inspected this service
Before the inspection we gathered and reviewed information from the provider. During this inspection we spoke to the registered manager, chief medical officer, lead GP, two pharmacist independent prescribers and members of the management and administration team.
We also reviewed remotely specific documentation including policies and audits. (In light of the current Covid-19, CQC has looked at ways to fulfil our regulatory obligations, respond to risk and reduce the burden placed on practices by minimising the time inspection teams spend on site. In order to seek assurances around potential risks to patients, we are currently piloting a process of remote working as far as practicable. This provider consented to take part in this pilot and some of the evidence in the report was gathered without entering the practice premises).
To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment, we ask the following five questions:
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it caring?
- Is it responsive to people’s needs?
- Is it well-led?
These questions therefore formed the framework for the areas we looked at during the inspection.