PATIENTS struggling to get a GP appointment are being promised a way to receive a same-day examination from their doctor without even having to go to the surgery ­— but they will have to pay £39 for the privilege.

Digital health company, Medicspot, is bidding to put an end to waiting times in Bolton by introducing an scheme allowing doctors to perform remote tests using equipment operated by patients.

Doctors will be able to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals; such as blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature ­— all without even needing to be in the same room.

Medicspot services are currently available at A1 Pharmacy in Radcliffe Road, Darcy Lever, and the company is planning to bring it to more locations early next year.

But to access it patients have to book online and are charged £39 for a same-day GP consultation. Although they can get hand in operating the equipment from a trained pharmacist if they need extra help.

Ismail Tailor, pharmacist at A1 pharmacy, told The Bolton News the service had received a good reception and had attracted people from across Bolton and Bury, as well as one patient from the south of England.

Dr Zubair Ahmed, co-founder of Medicspot, said: “Medicspot uses connected medical devices to allow doctors to perform a full clinical examination on patients without needing to be in the same room as them.

“This allows doctors all over the UK to be instantly connected with patients in areas where it can be difficult to get a convenient GP appointment.”

However, a regional patients’ champion Russ McLean said he was saddened by the move and claimed that services were being ‘privatised by the back door’.

Mr McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “I know the CCGs have said they’re expanding access to GPs on evening and weekends. This clearly isn’t working as patients can’t get appointments and are having to turn to companies like this instead.

“Government and commissioners need to invest in more GPs as what we’re seeing now is privatisation of services through the back door and private companies making money out of patients.”

However, Mr Tailor disagreed that it was an attempt at privatisation, describing it as “more of an additional service” which patients will likely access only in emergencies or when they are unable to see their doctor.

The launch of the initiative comes as NHS data has revealed almost one in five people in Bolton are waiting longer than two weeks to be seen by a GP ­— while thousands are waiting over a month.

Dr Ahmed said he hopes the Medicspot service will offer a convenient alternative for people in the town and help ease pressures on the NHS.

He added: “Longer wait times lead to more strain on an already struggling NHS. When patients are forced to wait weeks to see a GP, they often end up waiting for hours at A&E.”