Around 40,000 patients now have access to video appointments with their doctor thanks to a new initiative.

The Rochford Primary Care Network has teamed up with the UK’s leading online GP consultation service, Push Doctor, to offer the service.

It is now available to all patients at the The Puzey Family Practice, Wakering Medical Centre, Leecon Way Surgery and Ashingdon Medical Centre.

Bosses say it has been rolled out after face-to-face appointments were down by 60 per cent in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They hope video appointments will reduce waiting times and the pressure on GPs.

Dr Sadik Merali, Clinical Director for Rochford Primary Care Network, said: “We are delighted to offer this new service to our patients in Rochford, as this now provides greater flexibility and choice, which is particularly important during these unprecedented times we are currently living in.

“Our partnership with Push Doctor means that we are now offering patients additional appointments between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and also the option of speaking to their GP remotely.”

Push Doctor says 80 per cent of video consultations do not require a follow-up and 70.5 per cent of users are able to get same-day appointments.

Chief medical officer Dan Bunstone said: “As the country is adjusting to the new lockdown measures, digital health will still play a critical role in connecting GPs with patients.

"The unintended consequence of the Government’s earlier advice to 'stay at home – protect the NHS' is that patients, despite the modest steps being taken to ease lockdown restrictions, are still not seeking out healthcare when they need it.”

The commissioning groups in Basildon and Southend were contacted but were unable to confirm if they are considering introducing video appointments.