• Children will be unable to have their own accounts on the Push Doctor app

 An online GP consultation service has suspended all appointments for under-18s.

Push Doctor provides pay-as-you-go consultations and also works with a number of organisations providing NHS-funded care, most notably the Modality GP Partnership, which covers 400,000 patients in the West Midlands.

In a statement the company said: “The crucial change that is being implemented is that you will be required to enable the sharing of your child’s medical records with their GP before your child is able to consult on Push Doctor.”

Once the changes come into force, children will no longer have their own Push Doctor accounts, but will have accounts linked to their parent or guardians’ accounts. Parents will also be asked to authorise the sharing of their child’s medical records with a GP.

According to an online statement, the “slight changes” are being made to the way children use the service to make sure “safe and effective care” is provided.

Push Doctor said children’s appointments will be provided again soon, but did not give a definitive date.

A statement published on the company’s website said: “Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do at Push Doctor and, as a result, we are constantly reviewing the service that we provide, and seeing where improvements can be made.

“We have decided to make a slight change to the way children consult on our platform to ensure we are providing safe and effective care.

“While we can’t give a definitive date on which child consultations will return, we are in the process of introducing changes that will enable us to carry on delivering child consultations in the safest possible manner.

“While these changes are made, we have made the decision to temporarily cease consulting with children.”

A 2017 inspection of Push Doctor services uncovered unsafe prescribing practices, including a doctor prescribing a sleeping disorder drug to keep a person awake for work. A Care Quality Commission inspection in April 2018 found there has been significant improvement in some areas, including prescribing. However, the regulator concluded: “There were areas where the provider was still not providing safe services.”

Push Doctor is based in Manchester and charges £30 for a 10-minute appointment for pay-as-you-go customers, with an additional £8 prescription admin fee.