NHS Bristol has launched a free iPhone application to provide patients with information on NHS services in its area.

The primary care trust said its application, which can be downloaded from iTunes, is the first of its type in the UK.

The application provides details of every health service in Bristol, including GP practices, walk-in centres, minor injury units and dentists, and includes contact information and the service’s GPS location.

Other features include an In Case of Emergency (ICE) option, an alert appointment reminder service and recorded messages with instructions on how to deal with specific health emergencies.

Deborah Evans, chief executive of NHS Bristol, said the iPhone application would help patients know where to go, who to see and how to get there.

She added: “This application is a way for us to open services up to the public and provide genuine information and choice for patients. I’m excited at the way we can use new technologies to improve patients’ choice and I’m sure that the people of Bristol will feel the same way.”

The application has been developed in partnership with Bristol based company MyOxygenMobile and is also being developed for the new Android platform for mobile phones.

Andrew Farmer, MyOxygenMobile manager, said: “We focussed on making the application clear and accessible using familiar icons and images to help the user. We feel the application is great for the people of Bristol, a perfect way of using new technology and we are keen to see how successful it will be.”

The ICE feature enables patients with a long term condition or particular health concern to input information about their condition.

In the event of a problem, pushing the ICE button will emit a loud sound and display the health information – which the trust hopes will aid a quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Hugh Annett, NHS Bristol’s public health director, said: “This application is one of the most exciting developments in health I’ve seen for years. The service finder means that you will never have to search the whole web for a NHS Bristol service again.

“The app is so easy to use and above all really useful. I hope that everyone who has an iPhone and lives in Bristol or is visiting Bristol will download the application and share it with family and friends, it could save someone’s life.”