Case study

General practitioner (GP) — Dr Caroline Pilot

Caroline studied medicine at St. George's University London and a Masters in dermatology at Cardiff University. She now works in online medicine

How did you get your job?

I am both a sessional NHS GP and I also work for Lloyds Online Doctor, providing GP services.

I secured this job through complete luck. I had no idea about online medicine; I didn't even know it existed. A friend worked for the company and introduced me to the concept.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

For this role it was essential that I was a qualified and experienced GP. Online medicine should only be used for low-risk patients, so it's important to have the experience to be able to recognise the red flags that alert you to the fact that the user may have more complex underlying issues that need a face-to-face consultation.

What do you do day-to-day?

The job mostly involves sitting at a computer, assessing the electronic questionnaires that have come in and making a prescribing decision or giving advice.

We message patients and also do telephone appointments if necessary. We have weekly meetings to discuss any clinical concerns and I am also involved in shaping our work with the NHS.

We are currently trying to set up a project to enable online GP care for regular NHS patients. This should be especially helpful for those who can't get to a GP.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I am so lucky to work with a fabulous team. It is often the people you work with who can make your job. It's so interesting listening to their ideas and also having the space to be creative and innovative.

I enjoy feeling that something I can do could make a real change.

What is the most challenging part?

Dealing with NHS bureaucracy and breaking down barriers. Just because something has not been done before does not mean that it cannot be done.

I feel disheartened by people with no vision or aspirations for the future of our NHS.

What are the best things about working in this sector?

Flexible working, a better work-life balance and it is well paid. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to create and shape the future.

Any advice for others looking to get into this career?

Go for it. We will all have to embrace online medicine whether we like it or not. The world has changed and everything is online now, including healthcare.

However, keep in mind that as GPs it is our duty to be holistic and personal and offer the best care possible. This applies to an online setting too, so be selective who you work for.

Find out more