Australia’s largest mobile operator Telstra will soon expand its e-health portfolio with the launch of a service that gives customers 24/7 access to doctors via an app and secure voice or video connection.

Telstra is partnering with European telemedicine company Medgate to launch ReadyCare, which is scheduled for release on 1 July and will allow patients to make a phone or video call to a doctor and receive diagnosis, prescriptions, referrals and treatment – without having to make a physical visit.

Medgate, which provides 24/7 healthcare access to about 50 per cent of the Swiss population, said it conducts consultations with about 4,300 patients each day, more than half of which receive care and don’t require a follow-up face-to-face consultation.

Wayne Liubinskas, Telstra’s head of consumer and tele-health services, told the Australian that the service turns the traditional GP healthcare model on its head. “The current consumer experience is that you have to go see a doctor at a time that works for them as opposed to what works for you,” he said.

Telstra said it is creating Australia’s first purpose-built telemedicine centre and will roll out the service by employing a small number of doctors, nurses and receptionists. But Liubinskas said the service aims to also add GPs who want to supplement their incomes.

The operator, which has a 50 per cent market share, has invested more than AUD130 million ($100 million) into health ventures, the Australian said. In April it introduced its first healthcare service called MyCare Manager, which uses real-time monitoring of health devices and video conferencing to treat long-term health conditions.

To ensure ReadyCare complements existing services, Telstra is working with the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practice and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.