In the hot seat
For a busy GP, any tool that can save time and labour is valuable. Charlotte Hudson chats with Dr Darach Ó Ciardha about the launch of GPBuddy.co.uk and its benefits for GPs and patients
GPBuddy.co.uk, designed by Dr Shane McKeogh and Dr Darach Ó Ciardha – both practising GPs themselves – is a free online medical directory, initially aimed at London and South-East based UK health professionals, helping GPs find the private medical professionals and services they require, at the touch of a button.
Launched in September 2013, GPBuddy.co.uk is partnered with NB Medical and is the sister site of GPBuddy.ie – which was launched in May 2010 and has more than 2,100 members. Dr Ó Ciardha explains: “Shane and I have forged a close relationship with Drs Simon Curtis and Phil Nichols who head up NB Medical, through their activity in Ireland with the extremely popular Hot Topics series.
“As a GP, Simon was impressed at what we had to offer to GPs in Ireland and felt that a version of GPBuddy in the UK could help some GPs get to grips with the breadth of private consultants and services, particularly in the London area. We spoke to UK GPs about their needs and realised that a comprehensive and easily searchable database would be of use, when seeking to refer a patient for a private specialist consultation.
“The online directory helps GPs be more organised, and prevents the scrambling around in drawers for a number on a piece of paper.” Dr Ó Ciardha says the team feel that patients benefit too, through more specific referral choices by their GP – GPBuddy.co.uk will enable them to explore the most suitable and convenient options on behalf of their patients.
If you’re able to shave a minute or two off your tasks and if that’s repeated a couple of times over the course of the day, there are clear time-saving benefits
GPs can search the comprehensive database for consultants via their special interests as well as their location – essentially it will save GPs time. It is free for both GPs and consultants to list their profile on GPBuddy.co.uk, and consultants can opt to pay for an enhanced listing should they choose to do so.
“GPBuddy.co.uk can make the difference in terms of preventing you being stuck on hold if you’re trying to get through to a hospital,” says Dr Ó Ciardha. “You can get the information in a couple of seconds as opposed to two or three minutes. If you’re able to shave a minute or two off your tasks and if that’s repeated a couple of times over the course of the day, there are clear time-saving benefits.”
The website has taken off well so far, with more than 300 members – and it only launched four months ago. Dr Ó Ciardha says this number is growing every day.