AskFirst is a new app commissioned by BOB ICS (Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire Integrated Care System) to help patients get the right healthcare they need at the right time. It has been developed by local GPs and a leading IT company, Sensely. Using the app can help patients take more control of their own health.

We are working hard to make sure that patients in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West get the right service when they need it. For patients that need to see a GP we want to make sure that they can get access through mobile phone or smart devices.

We have been commissioned to develop and deliver AskFirst to support patients, registered with a BOB GP get easier access to primary care services.

The AskFirst app is free to download and features an interactive symptom checker which triages the patient to the most appropriate onward care service (self-care, NHS111, GP appointment or accident and emergency) within the appropriate timescale, effectively helping patients to choose the right service available.

What are the benefits of using the app?

AskFirst offers many benefits which serve you, your practice and other patients.

AskFirst benefits you because:

  • Book Direct – You can book some routine appointments in less than 5 minutes
  • Save Time – You will avoid long waits in telephone queues or in queues at the practice
  • Instant Care – You get instant referrals to onward care services and cut out any unnecessary consultations in between which means improved care.
  • 24/7 Care – Use AskFirst anytime, day or night. The app is available 24/7, 7 days a week

AskFirst benefits your practice and other patients because:

  • The phone lines will be freed up for the elderly, frail, patients with disabilities or those without internet access
  • Appointment usage will be better monitored resulting in improved efficiency in your practice resulting in better care for all
  • Admin staff will have more time to work on administrative duties like communicating with you about yours and other patients’ care.

What can I do via AskFirst?

AskFirst offers all the clinical and administrative services your practice does in exactly the same way. This includes;

  • Book routine appointments (cervical screening is now live!)
  • Checking your symptoms and being referred to an urgent care service where necessary
  • Booking an appointment with a GP if deemed necessary by the Symptom Checker
  • Seek travel advice, self-care advice and find local services (dentist, pharmacy, opticians)
  • Amend/cancel appointments
  • Choose your own virtual healthcare assistant
  • Make general requests and administrative queries

Coming soon to westongrove patients via AskFirst:

  • Booking NHS Health Checks, blood pressure check, new patient check and 8 week baby check
  • Direct booking for contraception/family planning, immunisations, wound care, stitch/staple removal and physiotherapy appointments.
  • Long Term Condition reviews, mental health check-up and learning disability annual health check

How does the Symptom Checker work?

The app enables patients to interact with a virtual health care assistant called Olivia, she asks a series of questions (approximately 15) to assess your symptoms. Using NICE accredited evidence based protocol, based on your responses, Olivia will recommend the most appropriate onward care which includes self-care advice, appropriate GP appointment, GP call back, advice from and direction to urgent or emergency care.

For patients that need to see a GP, it is able to prioritise into more urgent appointment slots based on their needs and offer less urgent needs a later appointment. Patients are able to directly book an appointment without having to call the practice. In addition, a transcript of the questions and answers is sent to the patient’s practice, helping to make the consultation more efficient and effective.

Where do I get the app from?

AskFirst is available on both IOS, Android phones and smart devices. It is free to download.

Can I book an appointment with my GP?

Depending on your symptoms, if you need to see a GP the app will direct you to appropriate appointments available at your GP practice.

Who can access the app?

If your practice is connected to AskFirst you will be able to book GP appointments if appropriate. Anyone can download the symptom checker. Patients under the age of 18 years old or with mental health symptoms are advised to contact their GP.

When can I use the app?

The app is available to access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on your personal device.

How to Videos

Explore more about the AskFirst app with the ‘How To’ tutorial videos below. For more videos, visit the official AskFirst YouTube page. (Please note, on-screen menu options may differ due to version updates and available local services)

Introducing AskFirst (formerly Ask NHS)

Getting Started with AskFirst (Downloading and creating an account)

Check Your Symptoms with AskFirst

How To Book a Routine Appointment

Make General Enquiries and Admin Requests