A GP surgery has launched a new service which allows patients to be seen by their doctor via video link from their own home.

The Pall Mall Surgery in Leigh yesterday launched the new service from Q Doctor, which arranges online consultations between patients and GPs, meaning patients will not have to go into surgeries for appointments.

The surgery has 21,000 registered patients, and the Q Doctor service will be in addition to face-to-face and telephone consultations.

Practice manager Jane Coldicott said the surgery wanted to launch the service ahead of it being made mandatory across all UK GPs next year.

She said: “It will be a requirement for all surgeries to offer it as of next year, as part of the five-year forward view.

“We were contacted with the opportunity to launch it, and we took the decision to introduce the new service to our patients. We have a lot of commuters registered, plus a range of other patients, and thought it would be quite good to get ahead of the game and do it in a controlled manner.”

The surgery had more than 100 patients sign up on the first day.

The Highlands Surgery, another practice in Leigh, has been operating with Babylon for a number of months, which is a similar online consultation service.

Ms Coldicott added: “We had an influx of people interested, it’s been quite enthusiastic. This is not a replacement service. We’re still offering face-to-face and phone consultations plus home visits, this will be an addition for our patients.”

Southend councillor Ashley Johnson, of Leigh ward, said: “We welcome anything that improves patient care at our surgeries. The sole concern is that the more elderly patients may not have the knowledge or access.

“We will be monitoring it to make sure that it does work, and we would always advocate on behalf of our residents, especially the most vulnerable.

“It does create anxiety; when people who have been doing the same process for 30 odd years are given new methods. I believe there will be a transition period where we may get a lot of complaints.

“But we would be foolish to completely oppose changes aimed to help the patient experience.”