Lewisham GP practices plan to launch an app to give patients access to advice and information around the clock, in a move anticipated to ease winter pressures on the NHS.

One Health Lewisham, a federation of all 38 GP surgeries in the borough, has signed a deal for the virtual health assistant app, Ask NHS.

The move will see all Lewisham GPs using the technology by the end of the year, with the roll-out starting in the summer, according to reports in industry website Practice Business.

This comes after Health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised last year all UK patients would have access to NHS services such as medical records, ordering repeat prescriptions and booking GP appointments, via an app by the end of 2018.

Ask NHS is designed to better manage patient demand and reduce the burden on doctors. Patients will be able to manage their appointments, check their symptoms and search through NHS Choices healthcare advice and resources, according to the app’s website.

Patients use their name and date of birth to register with the app, which will automatically link them to their own GP practice.

One Health Lewisham managing GP Prad Velayuthan told Practice Business: “We see incredible value in technology to empower patients to self-assess and, while it may take some time for some GPs to embrace a disruptive technology, I am confident the app’s obvious benefits will eventually be accepted and adopted by everyone.”

The app does integrate with the NHS 111, Lewisham GPs have chosen not to use this function, according to reports.

The App is available on iOS and Android.

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