Return to clinical services page

AskFirst App

(Previously called Ask NHS)

The AskFirst app

The AskFirst is a free app all Lewisham patients can download and used to access healthcare at their practice and at GPEA. It is commissioned by NHS Lewisham CCG. Find out more:

Features include the symptom checker (triaging symptoms and directing patients to appropriate healthcare), booking video appointments, telephone appointments , physio appointments, IAPT services, social prescribing services, cervical smear appointments and flu vaccines. The availability of appointments to patients is directly dependent on the number of AskFirst Slots the practice offers in its appointment book

For more information about the branding change Sensely Ask First Rebrand CCG and Patient Fact Sheet (OHL)


Utilising AskFirst App within PHS


  • You can decide to use or not use the AskFirst app at your practice
  • If you increase your patient to the targets you will be paid (detailed in attached PHS).

Steps to take:

  • Deploy AskFirst appointments in your appt book: Ask NHS Telephone, Ask NHS Video, Ask NHS Online Consultation, Ask NHS Smear and Ask NHS Flu
  • Contact Annabel Flinn for assistance with this.

Simple steps to ensure patient engagement:

  • Upload poster to your website homepage
  • Have Askfirst info page on your website
  • Display posters in practice
  • Encourage staff to promote app when in contact with patients
  • Send opportunistic messages to promote app when in contact with patients
  • Advertise app on your practice call waiting message
  • Inform the Practice Receptionists what app is and equip with FAQs (how to download / how to uses) so they can answer patient queries


AskFirst How to Guides

Creating an account on ask nhs

Booking a telephone conversation

Launching a video appointment

Using the Symptom Checker

Ask NHS Web Widget

AskFirst can also be added to website for patients to access the same  functions (see bottom right of this page)

To include the widget on your website insert the below code

Code snippet:

to download the code in a word doc click here

Mental Health Appointments

Patients can directly self-refer and book telephone appointments with the IAPT service via the AskFirst App.

Patients cselect My Mental Health and follow the link to IAPT referral page or helpline.

To help you promote this feature see below suggested messages that you can use for making MJOGS or opportunistic AccuRx message templates:

Admin/ Doctor  team :

‘Dear  X 

You can now use our new ASK FIRST  app to book a video or telephone appointment, get selfcare advice, and check your symptoms. It is available 24/7, simple and secure to use. Download the free ASK FIRST GP app today on your phone or tablet tablet :

For more information, visit

Failed call for GP:

‘Dear X

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to reach you by phone. If you still need to speak to a clinician, please call reception to arrange another phone call.

You can also ask check your symptoms, book a telephone or video appointment, and get more help with the AskFirst app

My Mental Health MJOG:

Dear Patient,

You can now use your AskFirst App to book appointments with mental health specialists. Check out the My Mental Health feature for advice and help, it’s free to use and accessible 24/7 to book appointments and check symptoms.

If you haven’t already, please download it: Or use online:

Best wishes,

Remote Physio Appointments

Patients can directly book telephone appointments with the Physio First service via the AskFirst App.

Patients select ‘Book Physio Appointment’ and then select a time suitable for their telephone consultation from the appointments on offer.


Referral Criteria

The app is free and available for patients of all ages.

To create a user  a patient must register with an email, a password of their choice and then enter their postcode, surname, and DOB to match the details at their practice (and allow them to book appointments at that practice).

Case Study

Sydenham Green and AskFirst Case Study

Sydenham Green Group Practice have implemented the AskFirst (previously Ask NHS app) to allow patients to book telephone and video appointments directly at their practice, self-triage through the app’s symptom checker, self-refer to services such as physio, mental health, and social prescribing and to access self-care advice. The Case Study details how they successfully increased utilisation at the practice and with their patients, and as a result have reaped many benefits.

Click here to view the Case Study (pdf)


Technical Issue?  – Please contact

Is this the same as the ASK NHS App? – The Ask NHS app was rebranded as the AskFirst app in July 2021. The functionality is still the same, for more information and faqs click here

What does the app offer in Lewisham?  – Patients can book telephone, video and physio appointments directly. They can triage their symptoms with the symptom checker and they can self refer themselves to the IAPT and social prescribing services

Is there a web version?  – Yes, please ask Annabel for the code snippet and instructions

How do I find the patient information for the consultation?  – On EMIS, right click on booked slot and select slot properties. This will show the following patient details: contact number, https link for video consultation, name, dob, gender, nhs no., reason for booking, questions and patient answers to those triaged by the app.

How do I launch a Telephone appointment? – Right click on booked appointment. Select slot properties and the contact telephone number is documented in the Notes section. Call patient and follow standard operating procedure.

How do I launch a Video appointment? – Right click on booked appointment. Select slot properties. Highlight https://clinician link in notes and copy. Open browser (e.g. google chrome), right click in html bar, select past and go. The video consultation screen will automatically load. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the ‘Notify Patient’ button. This will ring the patient on their device. The screen will load when the patient joins.

Has this been tested by clinicians and patients?  – The app has been developed by local GPs based on a similar app. The clinical algorithm for the ASK FIRST GP application has been developed by a company called Advanced. This is a UK based company lead by GPs that work for the NHS. In Lewisham it has been tested by local clinicians to ensure that it is safe to use.

Is there a leaflet to give to patients that explains about the App? – Yes, a pdf leaflet about the App is available by clicking  here, or it can also be found on the patient OHL AskFirst webpage here

Contact Information

General and PHS enquiries regarding AskFirst

Annabel FlinnDigital Change Manager
m: 0798 4546 133
t: 0203 640 2113

One Health Lewisham

Suggestions, Questions & Feedback

    " "