Ask NHS App Frequently Asked Questions

What is the app?

The Ask NHS application is an online application that can help you with your medical needs. It features a symptom checker that you can use 24/7 to check your symptoms.

Does Ask NHS app screening for Covid-19 virus?

In line with the national guidance, Sensely Ask NHS, online triage tool for Buckinghamshire practices, has introduced Covid-19 screen assessment to all patients at the start of the Symptom Checker to ensure that patients are advised not to visit the practice if they suspect they may have Covid-19. Any patients who might have symptoms are directed away from their GP practice to NHS 111 online.

Can I book appointments via the app?

You will be offered an appointment after completing a symptom checker if it is deemed medically appropriate.  The appointment may be a telephone call back, face to face appointment with an appropriate member of staff or it could be a personal text/ email advising you of a booked appointment or prescription issued based on the outcome of the symptom checker if appropriate.

Can I cancel my appointments at my GP Practice via the app?

Yes you can use it to cancel routine appointments with your GP, even those that were not booked via the app.

How does it work?

When you register with the ASK NHS application your details are matched to your information held on the NHS Secure Cloud.  If the details you entered match those held by your registered practice the app will recognising you as a Buckinghamshire patient and registration is complete.

Will this app cost me any money?

It is free to download the ASK NHS application and use it.

How much memory will it take up on my phone?

It is takes up approximately 4MB.

What happens with my personal details?

To register with the ASK NHS application you will be asked to provide your surname, postcode, D.O.B and an email address. When you use the symptom checker you will be given the option for your clinical summary to be shared with your GP, should you need to see a GP based on your symptoms. ASK NHS does not save any clinical information on your phone. It does save data on the NHS cloud.

Can the app link into my health records?

The ASK NHS application does not offer you access to your health records. It does share your clinical summary with your GP as part of using the symptom checker which will connect to your health record. This can facilitate your GP to deal with your medical problem more efficiently when they see you.

What happens if I disagree with the outcome?

If you disagree with the proposed outcome from the application you still have the right to access medical care by calling your GP practice, booking an appointment to see your GP or accessing 111.

Is there a web version?

Yes a web version has been released and is currently being deployed on all GP Practice websites in Buckinghamshire.

Has this been tested by clinicians?

The clinical algorithm for the ASK NHS application has been developed by a company called OneAdvanced in partnership with GP’s practising in the UK. OneAdvanced is a UK based company lead by GPs that work for the NHS. In Buckinghamshire it has been tested by local clinicians to ensure that it is safe to use.

Has this been tested by patients?

The app has been tested by members of the Public Reference Group at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG as part of the development of the app, we have sought patient views to ensure that it is right for local people in Buckinghamshire.

What if I need to want to see a doctor?

You can use the symptom checker to check your symptoms and based on the urgency of your symptoms the ASK NHS application can offer you an appointment with your GP. If you do not agree with the outcome of the ASK NHS application you can ring your GP practice for advice or ring 111.

Can I check symptoms of my child/baby?

Currently only adults over the age of 16 years old can use the ASK NHS application.

Can I seek a second opinion?

You can ring your GP practice is you are not happy with the outcome of the ASK NHS application and you can seek another opinion for your symptoms.

Why is the virtual nurse a woman?

The virtual nurse was selected by the Ask NHS pilot group, in the West Midlands pilot region.

Where does the name Olivia come from?

The name Olivia was chosen by the pilot group in the W Midlands.

Is the app available in alternative languages?

The app is available in 5 languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic and Dutch) as well as English. More languages will be available in the future.

Is there a version for special needs (deaf/blind)?

Patients can communicate with Olivia by voice or SMS Version 1 published August 2018

I have concerns or a complaint with regard to the app?

If you have any comments or concerns about the app we want to hear from you. You can contact us in a variety of ways: by email:, by telephone 01494 586700, on Twitter @bucksccgs

Can I still ring my GP for an appointment?

Yes of course you can always ring your GP for an appointment; the app is another way to help you get access to the right service at the right time.

Why are there so many questions when checking your symptoms on the app?

The questions are designed to assess symptoms in a clinically safe way. They are deliberately robust and thorough to ensure the app can provide advice for the right onward service. The symptom checker takes approximately only 4 minutes.

I do not live in Buckinghamshire, can I still use the app?

Anyone can use the symptom checker, however if you need an appointment at your GP, then only Buckinghamshire patients can access this service as it is linked to practices in Buckinghamshire.

If there is a National App (NHS app) why is Buckinghamshire rolling out Ask NHS?

The NHS App does not provide the benefits of a fully integrated online consultation solution on.  The NHS App enables patients to check their symptoms and then they are advised on the most appropriate place to seek advice and / or treatment. NHS Buckinghamshire CCG are keen to support practices to save time in general practice and help navigate patients to the most appropriate clinician or service to reduce the number of contacts a patient makes to get a resolution for their health concern.

The Ask NHS App also allows patients to check their symptoms but if an appointment or call back is required the responses from the symptom checker are sent directly into the EMIS system for the clinician to review prior to seeing of contacting the patient. This is reducing call volume in to the practices and is also decreasing the length of a consultation and sometime the patient does not need to see or speak to the clinician they may be sent a text message to say a prescription has been sent to the pharmacy or an appointment with a more appropriate clinician / service has been made. Ask NHS is also available on the web it’s not just an App.

What happens when I change my GP practice?

You would need to delete your current account and set up a new one which would subsequently match against your new GP practice. Alternatively you can use another email address. This is the only one way to force an account Spine refresh at present until NHS Login is implemented.