LIVI has signed a series of deals to provide online services to patients in Birmingham, Shropshire, Northamptonshire and parts of the south east, as well as boosting its presence in Surrey.
LIVI first launched in the UK last October, providing 360,000 patients in the NICS GP Federation in North West Surrey with access to GP services on their smartphones and tablets. This latest expansion will see the service available to 1.85m patients in total.
Our Health Partnership, which covers 52 practices in the Midlands and Shopshire, the Northampton General Practice Alliance, a GP federation of 21 practices, and the Alliance for Better Care, a federation covering 44 practices in East Surrey, Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex, have all entered into partnership with LIVI.
Under the deal patients at the participating practices are able to have a consultation with a GMC-registered, UK-trained GP through LIVI's digital healthcare app, and can request medical advice, prescriptions, fit notes and referrals to further NHS services. It is available in both core hours and out of hours.
Unlike the controversial online service GP at Hand, patients do not need to de-register from their practice to have access to the service.
A LIVI spokesperson said the new partnerships were a reflection of the provider’s ambition to improve primary care services in the UK.
‘As with any of LIVI’s partnerships, we are motivated to provide more access to NHS patients from within the system. Our model is about helping to build a health service that is better for patients, better for doctors and better for the NHS,’ the spokesperson said.
Reducing workload pressure
They added that virtual consultations would also allow GPs ‘greater workspace flexibility’ and reduce pressure on the practices involved.
‘Video consultations are a way to take the strain off GPs, as well as offering them greater flexibility, support and more meaningful work, since they can focus their time in the surgery on the patients who need it most,’ the spokesperson added.
‘Combining traditional practice with online consulting allows doctors to choose how and when they work and means they can work wherever in the country they are most needed at times that suit them, and their families.’
LIVI also pointed to figures from NHS England’s recent GP Patient Survey that showed a 28% drop in the number of patients reporting they went directly to A&E after being unable to secure a suitable GP appointment in North West Surrey where its service had been available. It said this was in contrast to the nationwide trend that showed a 10% increase.
Under the five-year GP contract in England all practices are expected to offer online consultations by April 2020 and video consultations by April 2021.
LIVI is the UK division of Europe's largest digital healthcare provider KRY, which is based in Sweden.