A Swedish GP provider offering video consultations has launched its service in the NHS.
Forty practices in North West Surrey are now offering GP video consultations following a partnership between North West Surrey integrated care services (NICS) GP federation and LIVI, the video consultation provider.
The LIVI app, available on both iOS and Android systems, enables patients to book an appointment with a GP during evenings, weekends and bank holidays and receive prompt medical advice, prescriptions, fit notes or referrals at the touch of a button.
Patients registered at one of the NICS practices will not need to de-register from their practice to be able to use LIVI, as a result of a partnership between the two organisations.
This is different from other providers of GP video consultations, such as Babylon, whose adverts have been recently banned by the advertising watchdogfor not making it clear to patients they would be giving up their existing GP practice registration when joining GP at Hand.
NICS GPs will be able to talk with their own patients both outside and during their contracted NHS hours, according to a LIVI spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that NICS GPs will be able to advice patients registered at other NICS surgeries who schedule a consultation through the app.
NICS chief executive Dr Caroline Baker said: ‘GPs in North West Surrey, just like GPs all around the country, are struggling with an increased workload from a growing and ageing population, tight budgets and a workforce crisis.
‘NICS is running extended access clinics to help relieve this pressure. As part of this we are partnering with LIVI to offer our patients a high quality video GP service that is a true collaboration between NICS and 40 practices in the area.’
LIVI is not the first private provider offering free GP video consultations. Now Healthcare Group, currently offering private online GP consultations through its Now GP app, was already in talks with five groups of NHS practices and one ‘very large’ practice in England to offer its service for free, as our sister publication Pulse reported in August.