RESIDENTS in Southampton may no longer have to wait for a doctor's appointment.

A new initiative is now available in the city that allows doctors to 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, without being in the same room.

Equipment can be operated by the patient from a remote location while communicating digitally with an online doctor.

Figures by Southampton-based Medicspot, a digital health company who are running the scheme, found that 17 percent of people in Southampton are waiting longer than two weeks to get seen by a GP – with thousands waiting over a month for an appointment.

According to NHS figures, 62 percent of residents in the city 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.

And while 38 percent of people in Southampton find it difficult to get through to their practice by phone, 20 percent of people in city described the experience of booking a GP appointment as poor.

However, 42 percent of people in Southampton were still seen on the same day of making an appointment.

Medicspot is already available in Pharmacydirect in Southampton, where patients can book online and pay £39 for a same-day GP consultation.

Now, they want to put an end to the wait and will be introducing the digital service to more city pharmacies early next year.

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 Southampton and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.

“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 and E."

A spokesperson for NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are committed to ensuring services in Southampton are as good as they can be and always welcome feedback from local people. Listening to patients’ experiences is key to helping improve services in the city.

"Here in Southampton GP appointments are available from 8am – 9pm every day of the week, including weekends and bank holidays, through your GP practice or at one of the six GP Hubs around the city. To book an appointment speak to your GP practice or phone 111 when your practice is closed.

"At most GP practices it is also now possible to contact your GP, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions online.”