Digital healthcare company Push Doctor has partnered with Well Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy chain,  on the launch of the UK’s first ‘pharmacy-first’ digital health service in a bid to give patients direct access to local community pharmacists.

The pilot scheme will provide over 50,000 patients with access to the Push Doctor platform, where they will be directed to a pharmacist who can then offer treatment online.

Patients using the platform will be able to conduct digital consultations using devices with video capability and internet connections.

The pilot – which initially launched a one GP practice for four weeks – has been extended to a further three GP practices across Plymouth Sound primary care network.

Push Doctor and Well Pharmacy will look to increaser the number of surgeries offering digital pharmacist consultations if the pilot is successful.

“By fully utilising the skill and expertise of pharmacists, we will remove non-essential footfall for GP practices, freeing up more time for GPs to see patients with more serious medical issues,” said Wais Shaifta, chief executive at Push Doctor.

“We hope this will be the start of a new pharmacy-first delivery model that will set up a future digital NHS across the country,” he added.

“Through this partnership with Push Doctor we will demonstrate the central role pharmacists can play in providing primary care, prompting a shift towards a pharmacy-first patient mindset,” said Seb Hobbs, chief executive officer of Well Pharmacy.

“The partnership provides an amazing opportunity for us to increase patient access to pharmacy services and ensure that they can fully leverage the expertise of these highly trained clinicians,” he added.