Video consultations in secondary care

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.

Video consultations 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.

To accelerate access and uptake across all secondary care settings, including mental health, community and ambulance services during the outbreak, NHS England and NHS Improvement procured and funded a national licence to a video consultation platform, Attend Anywhere. This gave all NHS trusts and foundation trusts the option to use the platform for 12 months. Implementation support was also provided, along with information governance support and a helpdesk for trusts. Whilst the majority of providers are using the nationally supported platform, some are using other platforms, or a mix of platforms that best suit their local needs.

As we move forward, we will continue to support NHS providers embed, spread and sustain video consultations across their services, encouraging innovation and a digital first approach to care, where clinically appropriate.

Resources

These resources will support NHS providers implement and embed video consultations.

  • A guide to video consultations for providers – provides helpful information on implementing video consultations, including information on when video consultations are appropriate and how to set up and conduct effective video consultations.
  • Illustrated guide for clinicians – this quick guide for clinicians outlines how to prepare for and conduct video consultations with patients.
  • Illustrated guide for patients – this quick guide for patients outlines what patients need for their video consultation and how to prepare for their appointment.
  • Case studies – 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.
  • Moorfields case study – read how Moorfield’s Eye Hospital accelerated deployment of video consultation services in response to COVID-19 covering both drop-in and scheduled appointment models of care.
  • Provider FAQs – this document addresses the most commonly asked questions NHS providers may have about using video consultations in secondary care. The document includes some information that is specific to Attend Anywhere as well as generic information relevant to all video consultation platforms.
  • Patient FAQs – this document addresses the most 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.

For more information, resources and queries, please contact nhsi.nationalvideoteam@nhs.net