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Health care: Stay home, lose weight and protect your health

PUBLISHED: 11:04 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:04 06 November 2020

PrivateDoc provides an individualised weight-loss service which includes medication that is combined with exercise and eating healthily to achieve a patient's goals    Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

PrivateDoc provides an individualised weight-loss service which includes medication that is combined with exercise and eating healthily to achieve a patient's goals Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Expert medical advice without waiting for a GP appointment? Find out how PrivateDoc can help with everything from stopping smoking to losing weight.

Dr Alexandra Phelan, medical director of PrivateDoc, says weight loss is a journey that takes time, with the ultimate goal being to keep the weight off   Picture: PrivateDocDr Alexandra Phelan, medical director of PrivateDoc, says weight loss is a journey that takes time, with the ultimate goal being to keep the weight off Picture: PrivateDoc

The first lockdown was hard in many ways and it made it even more difficult for those looking to lose weight. While the new lockdown doesn’t have the same one-hour limit on going out for exercise, there’s no doubt that it won’t help anyone’s plans for weight loss.

Help is available in your own home, though – from PrivateDoc, the online digital health clinic. Its doctors are able to prescribe and treat patients, offering medication that can help with everything from weight loss and stopping smoking to skincare, hair loss or erectile disfunction.

“PrivateDoc is not an online pharmacy – it is a clinic,” stresses founder Paul Marshall. “Our doctors are all GPs, registered with the General Medical Council. They can prescribe and treat for a range of conditions, with our pharmacy partner dispensing the medication and shipping it direct to the patient’s door.”

“With the weight-loss treatments available through PrivateDoc, one may be available through the NHS but two of them are not,” explains Dr Alexandra Phelan, medical director of PrivateDoc.

PrivateDoc can prescribe a range of weight-loss treatments, some of which aren't available through the NHS   Picture: PrivateDocPrivateDoc can prescribe a range of weight-loss treatments, some of which aren't available through the NHS Picture: PrivateDoc

The huge advantage of PrivateDoc – as well as access to treatments not available on the NHS – is that there’s no waiting for appointments or referrals. Simply go online and complete the medical questionnaire, which will be reviewed by one of the team of doctors.

“The PrivateDoc doctors are very proud of the fact that we’re all GPs and we approach this clinic as if it is normal practice,” says Dr Phelan. “Even before Covid-19, GPs have been working more digitally and since the pandemic it has been the standard way of working.

“Our online consultation questionnaire is focused on the patient’s medical background and is structured to let us establish the right treatment for them,” she explains. “Patients are generally already quite well informed about their options, especially with weight-loss medication. Most will have researched it.”

However, dealing with prescription medications is not the same as going into the chemist and just picking something off the shelf. This is why the consultation with a doctor is so important. “We will look to use the most appropriate medication,” Dr Phelan says.

Weight loss is a journey and medication from PrivateDoc needs to be used in conjunction with healthy eating and a programme of exercise.    Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoWeight loss is a journey and medication from PrivateDoc needs to be used in conjunction with healthy eating and a programme of exercise. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The prescriptions from PrivateDoc are delivered in discrete packaging - and turnaround time is fast. If the prescription is approved before 1pm from Monday to Friday, it will arrive the next day. However, as this is more than just a dispensing service, patients get more than just the medicine.

“All medication is provided with a sheet that includes targets that are individualised,” explains Dr Phelan. “This is something I think PrivateDoc does really well: we individualise our service to our patients... From their start weight we’ll provide a target weight they should reach over 12 weeks. This gives them a clear path.

“It’s really important for us to educate the patient about the process and support them,” she adds. “It’s not a case that they take a tablet and the weight vanishes – it has to work as part of a pattern with exercise and healthy eating and it can be hard. There will be ups and downs along the way, so we have to make sure the patient understands that.”

PrivateDoc offers free follow-up appointments with the doctors after two weeks, to check that patients are happy following the instructions for the medication, to make sure there aren’t any side effects and to support the patients.

“People can’t expect to lose all their excess weight overnight – it is a journey,” says Dr Phelan. “We don’t want people to lose three stone in a month. It’s far better to lose 1-2lb a week, every week, and be able to keep that weight off.

“Studies have shown that even a 3pc reduction in weight can have long-lasting health benefits, improving lung capacity, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and giving more energy,” she concludes.

So if you need help with weight loss or another issue under lockdown, go online for a consultation with PrivateDoc – it’s free, easy, confidential, and can be done from your own home at any time without waiting for a GP appointment.

For more information, click here.


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