Offering patients a lifeline

By Dr Charlotte Ridout, Deben Private GP Services
When Covid hit, everything stopped. Then the tidal wave of patients seeking help came. Unfortunately, that has meant a lot of people have been unable to access the healthcare they need when they need it, and three years on, demand continues to be relentless.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Winter 2023|24
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Private Healthcare: Dr Charlotte Ridout, Deben Private GP Services

Together with Practice Nurse, Amanda Snelling, we have opened a new ‘pay as you go’ private GP clinic in Woodbridge to offer patients a user-friendly alternative. Our aim? To offer speedy and flexible access to essential treatment as well as continuity of care.

I have stood in reception at an NHS practice where a patient on the phone is 74th in the queue – that simply cannot continue. We feel the frustration and dejection felt both by patients and NHS doctors, and we hope to throw a lifeline while alleviating pressure on local services.

Extensive experience

I’m originally from Suffolk and have practised Medicine for 15 years, gaining extensive experience as a GP. I also have a degree in Anatomy and Physiology, as well as business experience gained from spending five years in the corporate world as a Business Analyst.

Amanda’s experience as a qualified nurse spans two decades. She began her career in hospital Medicine working in Cardiology, before becoming part of a Rapid Access support team bringing critical care to patients’ homes. She is now a senior Practice Nurse with specialist expertise in diabetes.

We became friends after meeting at a local pub and we worked together at an NHS surgery in Wickham Market. During Covid, we formed a ‘bubble’ between our two families before the term officially existed, in order to continue caring for patients. Throughout the pandemic we discussed launching a private clinic together and decided to go for it at the end of last year.

Giving patients the time

We provide a comprehensive range of services – from blood tests, smear tests and ECGs, to chronic disease management, and onward referrals to both private and NHS services. We work around the patient, offering the flexibility of face-to-face consultations in our clinic, or telephone and video appointments from the comfort of your home. Your health, your choice.

I feel that it’s very important to offer more time during appointments – 15 minutes instead of the NHS’s 10 minutes – to enable continuity of care.  Continuity has been hugely overlooked by NHS England because they’ve had to accommodate so many patients with finite resources. I want to get to know each patient as a person, to hear their story, and to ensure we have a comprehensive medical history.

To start with, an initial double appointment is advised to include a medical history review. Fees are £90/15 minutes with myself, and £45/15 minutes with Amanda. Over time, our plans are to extend the clinic services, and we are looking to hold free to attend coffee mornings, mental health days and patient Q&A sessions.              

Offering patients a lifeline 1

Get in touch

Dr Charlotte Ridout (pictured left with Amanda) is GP and Co-founder of Deben Private GP Services. For more information:

T: 07939 472557
E: enquiries@debenprivategp.co.uk
Or visit www.debenprivategp.co.uk 

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