Video consultations - frequently asked questions

What is a video consultation?

A video consultation is an appointment that takes place between you and a clinician over video, instead of face-to-face or over the telephone.

Why are we using video consultations?

There are lots of benefits to using video consultations, including:

  • Saving you time and money by removing the need to travel to your appointment.
  • Your consultation is held in a place that is convenient to you.
  • Reducing disruption to your day, by reducing the amount of time needed to attend your appointment.
  • Reducing the carbon emissions associated with travel.
  • Reducing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, by avoiding face-to-face contact.

Why is the NHS using video consultations as part of its COVID-19 response?

Using video consultations supports with the NHS COVID-19 response by:

  • Preventing the transmission of the disease, by reducing the need for physical attendance at NHS sites.
  • Enabling clinicians to see patients who are unable to travel, this includes patients who are in at risk groups or who need to self-isolate.
  • Enabling clinicians to work from home, this includes staff in at risk groups, those who are self-isolating or those who are experiencing travel difficulties.

I have been offered a face-to-face appointment but do not want to come to the hospital because of COVID-19 – what should I do?

Some face-to-face appointments will be necessary over this period. The decision on whether an appointment takes place face-to-face, on video or by telephone is taken by an expert clinician based on your individual care needs.

If you think you have COVID-19 you should cancel your face-to-face appointment and make sure you are following the official advice on the NHS website. It is important that you let us know if you need to cancel your appointment, so that we can use the time to care for another patient.

Is a video consultation right for me?

Video consultations are suitable for many patients who do not need a physical examination and who are able to communicate via video. Your clinician will only invite you to a video consultation if they believe it is right for you.

Your consent is vital. If at any time you feel that you would like to end the video consultation, you can advise the clinician that you would like to end the video call and arrange another appointment.

Can a family member, carer or friend join me for my video consultation?

Yes, the other person can be at your location or elsewhere. If the person is in the same location as you, please let the clinician know at the start of your appointment that you have someone with you.

The Attend Anywhere platform allows you to invite someone into your consultation, even if they are in a different location to you. Preferably, the clinician or service need to be made aware of your request prior to the appointment. At the start of your appointment, give the clinician the person’s email address or mobile phone number. The clinician will send them an instant message with a link so that they can join your appointment.

Will I need to download anything?

Video consultations are accessed via a web browser and do not require any applications to be downloaded. It may be necessary to download a web browser that supports video consultations, as mentioned above.