PATIENTS across Oxfordshire will soon be able to get a full diagnosis without seeing a doctor in person through a new virtual GP surgery.

The service, which costs £39 per consultation, is already available at The Leys Pharmacy in Oxford, and is being promoted as a way to ease pressure on an 'already-struggling' NHS.

It has now been announced the service is set to be rolled out at more pharmacies in the county early next year.

ALSO READ: Thug told woman he would 'get her deported' before violent gang attack on new partner

Provided by digital health company Medicspot, it allows doctors to perform remote examinations using equipment operated by the patient.

A trained pharmacist is also available for those who need help to use the assessment equipment.

The GP can listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.

Medicspot has said it believes the service, which allows people to have a same-day appointment, will reduce pressure on the county’s health services.

It published a report with data showing 19 per cent of people in Oxfordshire waited longer than two weeks to get seen by a GP in September– with six per cent waiting more than a month for an appointment.

ALSO READ:Hospital staff 'stretched' and struggling to cope with demand

In May, the paper revealed 13,600 patients in Oxfordshire were forced to wait longer than four weeks for an appointment, and an online poll showed nearly half of Oxford Mail readers were having to wait longer than three weeks to see their GP.

Recent NHS figures also suggest that 81 per cent of residents in the county were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, and six in ten did not get a same-day appointment with a GP.

Dr Zubair Ahmed, co-founder of Medicspot, said: “In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Oxfordshire and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.

“Longer wait times lead to more strain on an already struggling NHS."

He added: “When patients are forced to wait weeks to see a GP, they often end up waiting for hours at A&E.”

ALSO READ: Hundreds of EU staff leave John Radcliffe trust

A national survey of patients who have used the new service revealed 40 per cent would have gone to accident and emergency if they did not use Medicspot.

Health and social care providers in the county have launched their own campaign to encourage people to create a 'winter plan' to avoid unnecessary trips to the John Radcliffe and Horton Hospital.

NHS funding has become a key topic in the general election with Labour vowing to outspend an additional £20bn already pledged by the Conservatives on the health service.

The Lib Dems, meanwhile, have pledged to put 1p on income tax, with the revenue ringfenced for the NHS and social care.

Details of where the new virtual GP surgery services will be based will be updated on, which can also be used to book.