ONLINE consultations are being launched by the NHS “super partnership” that runs five Keighley GP practices.

Modality Partnership have teamed up with Push Doctor, a pioneer of digital health, which will provide online consultations with a number of Modality practices across the UK.

Over time, this will create the single largest digital point of access to GP care in combination with Push Doctor’s private practice.

Modality said this would bring the benefits of improved access, efficiency and choice to the public at no additional cost to the NHS. The service will be free at the point of use for Modality patients.

Modality Partnership runs the Farfield, Holycroft and Kilmeny practices in Keighley; Oakworth Medical Practice; Cross Hills Group Practice and Fisher Medical Centre at Skipton.

The initial pilot with Push Doctor will see trials of a number of different approaches for patient access, with patients being navigated to a Push Doctor consultation via trained practice receptionist, or with patients being able to access the service directly.

In either instance, if a patient receives a virtual consultation with a GP and needs a face-to-face appointment they will always retain the ability to be seen in person as required.

Modality said that this would help the service create a unique understanding of how best to combine the benefits of digital with the critical practice-based services that patients rely on today. All GPs, digital and in-surgery, will have full access to patient records.

Modality said and governance policies have been carefully considered by a co-working group to ensure the service is delivered with patient needs and safety at heart.

Vincent Sai, chief executive officer of Modality Partnership, said: “This is an exciting development for our patients and we are proud to be shaping innovative approaches to tackling the pressures that face our frontline GP services.

“We want to embrace technological advancements that will benefit our patients in terms of choice, access and convenience.”

Dr Dan Bunstone, chief medical officer of Push Doctor, said: “This partnership represents a major step forward for the provision of free digital healthcare within the NHS and delivers meaningful choice for patients.

“For the first time patients of partner surgeries will be free to choose between a physical or an online appointment with an NHS GP. We are committed to building strong partnerships with the NHS, working with, not against, existing providers in order to bring the benefits of omni-channel health to all.”