The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Hertfordshire Edition

Hit speed dial!

6 Jan 2015

Having sat on the phone being told that there are five calls ahead of me far too many times, trying to get appointments for me or the kids – or trying to get an appointment but being told that all the pre-bookable ones have gone so I should call back in the morning, there’s something extremely attractive about a local full-service GP with extended hours that is open not only on Saturdays but – get this – on SUNDAYS as well. I know!

doctorNOW building

There’s already a DoctorNOW in Beaconsfield and now, in line with Champneys’ enticing promise of ‘magnificent health,’ a brand-new GP practice has just opened in the grounds of the hotel and spa near Tring. The practice at Champneys is in a separate building – not in the main hotel, but the signposts take you right there – and is open to anyone at all, not just residents or guests.

doctorNOW sign


The clinic’s open already – and while they do have membership schemes you can sign up to, you can always just book in as a non-member as well. It really is open to anyone, and your first appointment is a whopping 30 minutes long. Yes, that’s half an hour. I’m not even sure I could come up with enough symptoms for half an hour.

Lots of private medicine focuses on hospital procedures – the kind of thing your insurance covers, should you be lucky enough to have it – or on elective surgeries. DoctorNOW is a private GP practice: day-to-day appointments, travel vaccinations, that sort of thing, with GPs and practice nurses right there on site.

doctorNOW nurse

Yes, it’s private medicine so it does cost – the VIP membership, which covers most things, is the best part of £500 a year for the first adult in the family, with increasing discounts for the more people you add on, and there are other schemes that also include luxuries like home visits and out-of-hours cover. If you’re not a member, you can still ‘pay as you go’ with appointments – which sounds handy to know about for those one-off, ‘I-just-need-to-see-someone-now’ visits, especially when you weigh it up against thumbing through a copy of National Geographic from 1983 for an hour in your average NHS waiting room.

doctorNOW doctors

Of course, best of all would be not to have to go to the doctor at all — time to get cracking with all those health-related New Year’s resolutions.  Pass the spirolina, will you?



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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Hertfordshire Edition