The benefits of video consultations
Video consultations are appointments that take place between a patient and a health care professional over video, as opposed to face to face or over the telephone.
They are often more convenient for patients, saving them time and money and reducing the stress of travelling to their appointments. This means patients are less likely to cancel or not attend their appointments. It also means less pollution which helps us reduce our carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment which benefits us all.
Video consultations also offer benefits for health care professionals, reducing travel time and stress, and enabling more flexible working, meaning more time to spend with patients.
They have played an important role in the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping NHS trusts and foundation trusts reduce the number of physical attendances at their sites.
How are they implemented?
To accelerate access and uptake across all secondary care settings, including mental health and community services during the outbreak, NHS England and NHS Improvement procured and funded a national licence to a video consultation platform. This gave all NHS trusts and foundation trusts the option to use the platform for 12 months (until 31 March 2021). Implementation support was also provided, along with information governance support and a helpdesk for trusts.
In 2021/22 trusts and systems have locally procured solutions that best suit the needs of their local population.
We continue to support NHS providers embed, spread and sustain video and telephone consultations across their secondary care services.
There are a range of resources to help NHS providers implement and embed video consultations.
A selection of illustrated guides are available for:
- NHS providers and trusts – on how to implement video consultations, including information on when video consultations are appropriate and how to set up and conduct effective video consultations
- Clinicians – on how to prepare for and conduct video consultations with patients
- Patients – which outlines what patients need for their video consultation and how to prepare for their appointment (also available in Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian and Urdu)
Find out more about the experiences of colleagues implementing video consultations in NHS trusts and foundation trusts across the country. Our case studies explore the challenges, the learnings and how to sustain this change in practice.
- Rapid deployment of emergency and outpatient ophthalmology video consultation services at Moorfields Eye Hospital
- Video consultations in North Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service (NTIMS)
- Rolling out video consultations in Integrated Community and Mental Health Services across Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
- Delivering outpatient appointments through video consultations at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Outpatient transformation: Delivering video consultations for outpatients at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Patient frequently asked questions (FAQs)
These are some of the commonly asked questions patients may have if they are asked to attend a video consultation in secondary care.
NHS providers are encouraged to adapt the responses to align with their local platform provision and ways of working, to better support their patients.
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