How this aesthetic doctor has transformed her clinic to support the local community

Illuminate skin clinics

Illuminate skin clinics - Credit: Archant

An aesthetic doctor on returning to the NHS to join the Coronavirus fight and how she has adapted her business to support the community through the crisis

Illuminate skin clinics

Illuminate skin clinics - Credit: Archant

When COVID-19 hit, impacting the country and its businesses in ways that would have once been unimaginable, Illuminate Skin Clinic founder and medical director, Dr Sophie Shotter, immediately began to brainstorm ways she could mobilise her clinic, her staff and her personal expertise to help join the battle against Coronavirus and support the local community as much as possible through the crisis. By launching a not-for-profit private GP service and as of this week, a COVID-19 antibody testing facility in place of her aesthetic clinic, Dr Shotter has managed to keep her staff in jobs as well as help the local community, all while heading back to the health service herself.

“People all over the country will find it very difficult to access their local GPs over the coming months. This a time where people may need medical advice more than ever” says Dr Sophie “If you require medical support we can help, and this service is being offered on a not-for-profit basis throughout the crisis. All I would like to do at this time is support as many people who need help as possible and keep my team in jobs, but no more than this. It would feel wrong for me to profit from the fact that individuals cannot access the NHS at the present time.”

Video and telephone GP consultations will be available with Dr Sophie’s team, as well as face-to-face appointments where appropriate. Being not-for-profit, the fees will simply cover costs, however, Dr Shotter is also offering several appointments free of charge to members of the community on low incomes.

As of this week, Dr Shotter has launched a COVID-19 Antibody testing facility at the clinic, again, on a not-for-profit basis and at a discounted rate for key workers. “I believe that testing for antibodies is a crucial component in the strategy to safeguard public health and ideally, should be available to all”, says Dr Sophie. The tests are conducted at the clinic on a one-to-one basis, and all necessary precautions are being taken to ensure patient’s safety while in the clinic, which includes full PPE being worn during appointments.

“We advise that the antibody test be performed at least two weeks after symptoms have disappeared and we will only test patients who have been symptomatic for a minimum of three days. The test is a simple finger-prick test and results are available within fifteen minutes. Patients must understand that the antibody tests are designed to show whether you have previously had Coronavirus and how strong your immunity is to the virus. Still, it doesn’t mean you are immune to the virus if you have already been infected.” Sophie continues.

Dr Sophie is running these services with the support of her team of GPs in between her shifts at Maidstone hospital. “It’s all about a united effort to keep the system ticking over when it’s under such strain’, says Dr Sophie.

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If you would like to book an appointment you can contact the Illuminate Skin Clinic team by calling 0330 133 1272 or emailing

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