A federation of GPs in Lewisham have signed a deal to launch a virtual assistant app for patients.

Ask NHS GP, developed by Sensely, allows patients to check their symptoms via voice and text, obtain self-care advice and book or cancel an appointment.

One Health Lewisham, which is made up of 36 GPs, has signed a two-year deal with Sensely and its partner Advanced, which will help roll out the technology.

The app is due to be introduced across three so-called “early adopters” – ICO Health Group, Rushed Green and Sydenham Green Practices – by this summer.

The symptom checker uses Advanced’s clinical decision support technology Odyssey, which helps determine the urgency of a patient’s case and directs them to the most appropriate person.

Patients are able to access the free app 24/7 and use their name and date of birth to register.

Adam Odessky, CEO and Co-Founder at Sensely, said the aim of the app was to help ease the “phenomenal pressure” GPs across the country are under.

He added: “Through our partnership with Advanced, we will be able to help One Health Lewisham better manage the flow of patient care and place digital access to their local NHS in the palm of their patients.  Our objective is to support greater efficiency across the whole system by reducing workload while better serving patients”.

One Health Lewisham said it was targeting up to 77,000 patients during the initial roll-out across early adopters.

Prad Velayuthan, One Health Lewisham CEO, is leading the project, and said he hoped Ask NHS GP would become a blueprint for general practices in the rest of the UK.

The app is targeting deployment across 35 practices by the end of 2018.

Digital Health News reported in April that Ask NHS GP had proven successful after being introduced in the West Midlands.