Frequently Asked Questions

General

What does Vala offer? What makes us different?

We are a dedicated group of clinicians who are passionate about making the healthcare experience more holistic, integrated, and centered around you.

We believe in the importance of finding the root causes of medical problems, which often include lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress. As such, we take a multidisciplinary approach, offering access to a broad team of dietitians, personal trainers, physiotherapists and psychotherapists.

We think it is vital that you define your own health goals, and it’s our job to help you meet them. Whether that’s losing weight, training for a marathon, or reducing your stress levels, you set the priorities, and take ownership for your healthcare.

We work around your busy life: at Vala, you can book an appointment instantly, see a healthcare professional quickly in a way that suits you (many medical problems can be addressed from start to finish via phone, or an online video consultation), and have instant access to your medical records. We can make referrals, prescribe medications to be collected at your local pharmacy, arrange blood tests, x-rays, and more.

Why do you offer a multidisciplinary approach, and how can it help me?

Many chronic diseases are caused, directly or indirectly, by lifestyle patterns (including problems with diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management). As such, any treatment approach that does not address lifestyle factors is likely to be incomplete.

Our dietitians can help you change the way you eat—whether you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, have more energy, or just improve your diet. Our personal trainers are here to help you meet your exercise goals whether you’ve never exercised before, or whether you’re already an elite athlete. Our physiotherapists can help you with chronic issues such as back pain, or acute injuries like ankle sprains. Our team of psychotherapists and counsellors can help you get your mental fitness on track. You may feel depressed or anxious, or you may feel fine but would like to boost your mental fitness even further, becoming highly skilled at dealing with stressful situations and enhancing your mental resilience.

Whatever your goals are and however fit you already are, our multidisciplinary team can help build your own goals and achieve them.

What hours are you open?

You may access the site and your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, appointment availability varies both by type and time and although we endeavour to provide appointments across all disciplines every day of the week we are unable to guarantee availability. Please check the site for current availability. Please note that we do not provide an emergency service. We aim to reply to any message you send us as soon as possible on the same day (we guarantee a response by the end of the next working day.) Keep checking this space, though - our ultimate aim is to offer a 24-hour round the clock service.

How do I get my prescription? How long does it take and how much do they cost?

Please be aware that we do not deliver medication outside of the UK. Our clinicians will agree your preferred approach during your consultation.

The cost of medications and their delivery is not included in the price of your Vala membership, and price will depend on the medication and the speed of delivery required. We are not an online pharmacy and we don’t make a profit on the sale of medicines or their delivery. However we will endeavour to get you your medicine as cheaply and quickly as possible. (You may be pleasantly surprised—the price we charge for many common medications, such as certain antibiotics, is considerably cheaper than a standard NHS prescription charge).

If you’d prefer, we can post you a paper prescription via next-day delivery for free that you can take to any pharmacy.

Please note that we cannot guarantee a prescription with any of our services. Your safety is our number one priority and we will always act in accordance with the law and best practice guidelines when we prescribe medications. You must normally reside in the UK in order to be eligible for private prescriptions. Please see our prescription policy for more information.

Can I use my private healthcare insurance?

If you have private healthcare insurance, you may be able to use it towards the cost of any private investigations and towards the cost of appointments and treatments by private specialists. We are happy to help arrange this.

At the present time, membership fees to Vala are not covered by any private healthcare insurance plans.

Are my details secure?

We use a secure electronic medical records system (EMR). If for whatever reason the EMR is not available, your medical notes are kept offline on our private database, and we don’t share them with anyone unless you explicitly ask us to do so.

Like the quality of the medical services we provide, the quality of our data protection is regulated by the Care Quality Commissioning Group (CQC). You can view our privacy policy.

Will you contact my NHS GP?

We feel that patients get the best healthcare when all clinicians are aware of their full medical history, including changes to medications or the results of investigations. As such, we will ask you for the name and contact details of your NHS GP to update him/her on your healthcare, if you give us permission to do this. We will NOT contact your NHS GP without your permission unless we have safe-guarding concerns, in which case we would usually discuss this with you first.

If requested, we can send you or your NHS GP details of your consultations, investigations or results for your own files, either by email, post or fax.

What is a Physician Associate?

Physician associates (PA) are a group of healthcare workers who have practiced in the UK since 2005. They are trained to provide general medical care to adults and children. Physician associates can work in both hospital medicine and general practice under the supervision of a named GP or consultant.

The profession was first established over 40 years ago in the USA and has been introduced in other countries including Canada, Netherlands and Australia. Over 220 physician associates are currently employed within the NHS in more than 25 medical and surgical specialties, in over 40 locations.

Physician associates work in the same way as doctors do, carrying out tasks such as: taking medical histories, conducting examinations, diagnosing illnesses/injuries, requesting/interpreting investigations and referring for specialist care. All physician associates are trained to prescribe medication but currently do not prescribe in the UK pending governmental review. (At Vala, as in the NHS, medications are prescribed by medical doctors only).

All physician associates at Vala work in teams that are directly led and supervised by GPs.

Can I use your services abroad?

Yes. However, you must normally reside in the UK to use our services. Like all UK doctors, we are unable to issue you a prescription to take to a pharmacy outside of the UK and we will not refer you to a private practitioner outside of the UK, but we can offer medical advice wherever you are.

Are you registered with the Care Quality Commission?

Yes, we are authorised and regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Read more about registration and regulations here.

How much does it cost?

See here for our pricing plan.

How do I pay?

At present we accept the following cards: Visa, Visa Electron, Maestro, MasterCard and American Express.

How do I change my payment details?

Payment details can be changed within your Vala Profile, under the Payments section. The payments are handled by our Third party supplier Stripe we therefore do not store payment information.

Can I use the service pay-as-you-go, or is it subscription only? How long are the subscriptions?

Both. We offer pay-as-you-go appointments with our medical team, which you can book when you need them, and we also offer annual or monthly subscriptions for unlimited appointment usage. You can consult with our multidisciplinary team on a pay-as-you-go basis. Please see our different pricing plans for more details here.

What if I try it and I’m not happy with the service?

We think you’ll love using Vala, and that’s why we guarantee your satisfaction. If you try us and feel that it didn’t meet your expectations, we want to hear about it. We will take your concerns seriously and do whatever we can to fix the problem. If we can’t, we will happily give you your money back, no qualms. Complaints are treated in accordance with good practice guidelines under the Care Quality Commission Group (CQC).

What if I want to cancel for any other reason?

Of course we don’t want you to cancel your membership, but if you would like to, e-mail us at info@valahealth.com.

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