The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has extended its partnership with Babylon in a bid to introduce a ‘integrated and accessible’ digital-first healthcare.

The partnership will see the rollout of Babylon 360 to more than 55,000 people covered by Royal Wolverhampton’s primary care network.

Babylon 360 provides patients with digital-first access to healthcare via an app. It provides users with 24/7 access to information, health monitoring and healthcare professionals, according to the company.

Its aim is to help people access the information and care they need while freeing up clinician’s time to manage patients. Babylon claims the services makes “healthcare more affordable for the NHS”.

The Royal Wolverhampton has worked with Babylon since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to encourage the adoption of digital services in the area.

After 18 months, the trust and Babylon have combined their learnings to build a more patient-centric, digital-first model to deliver improved health outcomes, according to a statement from the Babylon.

David Loughton, chief executive at the trust, said: “The partnership with Babylon is an exciting one for us as a trust. The NHS has learned so much about the benefit of using digital platforms during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are excited to continue to develop this, in partnership with Babylon.

“This technology will enhance patient choice and give them greater control over their own health and wellbeing, supporting them to have their GP appointments at a time and location suitable for them.”

During the first phase of the rollout, digital-first services will be introduced to patients of Royal Wolverhampton’s nine GP practices.

Through the Babylon app, those patients will be able to access their current GP practice to book video appointments with their regular GP. They will also have access to Babylon’s digital health tools, such as its symptom checker.

Dr Umang Patel, managing director value based care at Babylon, added: “The experience of the pandemic has made the case for integrated care even stronger and has redoubled the government’s determination to prioritise public health, focusing specifically on preventive healthcare.

“Joining up with the government agenda, we look to continue rolling out similar services like our value-based care model, Babylon 360, which aims to create a holistic, easily accessible and affordable healthcare option that promotes prevention over the cure.”

In January 2020 Royal Wolverhampton announced a 10-year partnership with Babylon for digital-first integrated care.

Patients and staff at the trust were expected to use Babylon’s technology to manage care through a free app, which will connect primary, secondary and community care.