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Doctors Direct aims for healthy investment

Doctors Direct is an enterprise investment scheme (EIS) which aims to raise £1m to expand its business, which provides paying customers with visits from private general practitioners (GPs).

The business covers five areas — private patient visits, workplace visits arranged through employers, GP services for hotels and events, GP services to visitors to the UK through arrangements with insurance companies and filling in for GPs in the private and public sectors. It charges between £80 and £100 for each visit around London, but this increases for call outs to other areas and during public holidays.

Doctors Direct has a network of GPs and specialist consultants in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France. The company plans to use the money raised by the EIS to expand its share of private healthcare market to 1 per cent by making it services available in more areas within the UK and adding new services.

It intends to set up a private patient service that is accessible through an annual subscription and introduce specialist services such as paediatrics. The company is also developing a switchboard service for the employees of its corporate clients, where staff can reports illness and arrange GP home visits if required.

In an environment where people may be more willing to pay something towards healthcare instead of facing a wait under the NHS, a company such as Doctors Direct could be profitable. However, this EIS is high risk since the company is at a relatively early stage of development and there is no guarantee that demand for its services will increase.

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