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. This includes work to better understand secondary care providers’ future video consultation requirements. We will use the findings from this work to help inform local health systems’ approach to procurement of future video consultation services, and to help suppliers align their offers with the needs of local NHS organisations.

As part of this work we are undertaking a preliminary market engagement exercise. We have set out our intentions to suppliers on Contracts Finder.

Resources

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

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