An online GP service used by the NHS and backed by millions of pounds in taxpayer funding is seeking an emergency sale despite a surge in demand for video appointments during the pandemic.

Push Doctor, which offers GP services to up to 5.8m patients across the UK, is understood to have hired advisers BDO for an “accelerated” hunt for buyers or investors after burning through more than £35m.

More than 250 NHS practices work with Push Doctor, a rival to video doctor app Babylon as a provider of “telemedicine” in Britain. Babylon, which also works with the NHS, went public earlier this month at a £3bn valuation in the US.

Push Doctor has so far failed to turn a profit and turn interest in its video GPs into income. It shut down a paid-for private version of its app just before the pandemic.

According to its most recent accounts signed off in October, Push Doctor lost £7.6m on revenues of £1.6m in the year ending June 2020, down from sales of £2m the previous year. 

It is understood sales have since improved and the company’s monthly revenues are on track to triple by the end of 2021.

The company tapped the government-backed Future Fund, as well as its current investors, for a total of £10m in new funds in September last year, half of which was from the taxpayer. The company’s backers include London-listed Draper Esprit and family office Celeres.

In its accounts, Push Doctor’s auditors, Mazars, said there was “significant doubt” in its ability to continue as a going concern, with its cash runway “considerably less” than 12 months. A sale could come in the form of a large pharmaceutical company or another digital health business.

A Push Doctor spokesman said: “As is common for a business at our exciting stage of development, Push Doctor is in discussions to raise capital to fund the next phase of our growth and we are exploring a number of options. Push Doctor has had a strong year of growth in 2021.”