A UK-based online platform that enables NHS doctors to see private patients around their contracted hours has received more than £900,000 in funding.

Doctaly allows patients to search for a doctor by name or location, then book an appointment online and pay securely through a computer, mobile or tablet.

The online platform has now secured £915,460 from more than one thousand investors, in order to fund its national expansion.

Doctaly has already been introduced in Manchester, the West Midlands, Kent, Surrey and Scotland.

However, the company is targeting every major city in the UK by the end of 2018, and said the funding will be used to expand to 10,000 NHS GP practices nationally.

“It’s important to point out that every Doctaly patient is one less person in the NHS queue,” says Ben Teichman, Doctaly CEO and co-founder.

“We now know there is significant appetite for Doctaly amongst GPs and patients across the country and we are delighted to have raised significant growth capital to accelerate our expansion, to ease the burden on the NHS and to improve patient access to GPs across the UK.”

The nature of the service is a change from the huge number of online GP consultation platforms to have hit the market, including Babylon’s GP at Hand, which was launched last year.

However, according to one of Doctaly’s co-founders, Dr Dinesh Silva, not everyone is supportive of online consultations.

“Many people neither trust nor want a virtual GP appointment – they want the traditional face-to-face interaction with a GP who can examine them in person for the safest, most accurate diagnosis,” Dr Dinesh said.

“This is what Doctaly provides and the resounding success of our crowdfunding campaign ensures that we can onboard GPs across the UK, making our service available to patients nationwide.”