• When is a telephone or video appointment appropriate?
  • Is a telephone or video appointment appropriate for me?

    If you find travelling to your appointment difficult or are short on time, you may be interested in a telephone or video appointment.


    For a telephone appointment you will need a mobile phone or landline.


    For a video appointment you will need a reliable internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. Even if you are not confident using computers, a carer or relative may be able to help you set it up and get started.

  • Is a telephone or video option likely to work for my condition?

    Your clinician will need to decide whether it is appropriate and safe to complete your appointment by telephone or video. Research shows that in many but not all cases, a telephone or video appointment can be a safe and convenient alternative to a traditional in-person appointment. Your clinician will be able to advise whether your particular condition can be effectively and safely managed by telephone or video.


    One factor to take into account is whether you will need a physical examination. In some cases, your clinician can assess you via telephone or video call, but in other cases you may need to attend your appointment in person, for example if you need an examination, test or procedure.

  • Can I choose a telephone or video appointment?

    We know from our patients that if telephone or video appointments are available, more than half of patients want to be offered that option. But because your clinician is responsible if anything goes wrong, the decision to do a Telehealth appointment needs to be a shared one.

  • Is a video appointment secure?

    Video appointments are safe and secure. The same levels of privacy and security apply to telephone and video appointments as they normally would for in-person appointments.


    As telephone and video appointments take place from your device, you play a key role in keeping yourself safe online. If possible, close any other applications or windows on your device before and during the appointment to avoid performance and security issues.

  • How much data will I use during a video appointment?

    Video appointments use the same amount of data as you would use whilst watching a YouTube video (max of 1MB data per minute).

  • What do I need to set myself up for a video appointment?
  • How do I connect with my clinician at the start of the appointment?

    At the time of your appointment click the Join video call appointment via Zoom link in your appointment invite email or appointment reminder email, or the link in your text reminder. You will see prompts to connect with audio and video at each step.


    Once joined you should be in the video waiting room ready to start your appointment. The clinician will see that you are ready and waiting.

  • How do I check the technology is working?

    When you first connect via video, you and your clinician may want to check that everything is working well before you start. You might find yourself saying things like "can you hear me?" or "your face isn't clear".


    If there is a technical problem (e.g. you cannot see or hear each other) try these suggestions:


    • type a message to the clinician using the text-based chat window (or see if the clinician has sent you a message)
    • if internet speed is an issue, turning off video might help
    • wait for the clinician to contact you by telephone


    For more help with technical issues please refer to our Troubleshooting page.

  • Will my video appointment be safe and secure?

    To ensure safety and security, the clinician may check your date of birth, telephone number, or use another type of security question to confirm your identity.

  • If someone has helped me set up for video, do they have to attend my appointment?

    If someone has been helping you to get set up, it is quite OK to ask them to leave the room once you are connected to the clinician.


    As in a traditional in-person appointment, it is your choice who sits in on your appointment.

  • How will we start the appointment?

    Once you and your clinician agree that the technology works, they will start the main part of your appointment, usually by saying something like "How have you been since I last saw you?" or "How are you feeling?"

  • How do I communicate during a telephone or video appointment?
  • How do I let the clinician know that I’m listening during my video appointment?

    You do not need to look directly into the camera on your computer, tablet, or phone. Looking at the screen is enough for the clinician to know that you are listening.


    Because webcams provide a limited view, your clinician may not be able to see much beyond your face. It is a good idea to tell your clinician if things are happening out of view (e.g. "my wife has just come into the room"), so they know what is going on.

  • What happens if there is technical problem?

    Telephone or video appointments can sometimes suffer from technical problems, (e.g. due to a busy network or sound delays). This can result in garbled talk, or blurry or frozen faces on the screen.


    Having a good connection and equipment helps, but otherwise there may not be much you can do to change this. Basically, some telephone and video appointments may turn out to be less fluent than a face-to-face appointment.


    You may need to repeat things or ask for clarification more often. If there has been a technical glitch, a good way to resume the consultation is to repeat the last thing you heard (or said).


    It may help to make a comment about technical problems if they happen (e.g. "You are breaking up a bit").

  • How do I make sure I capture important information?

    If the clinician is giving you important information, like about medications, ask them to repeat it to confirm you both have it correctly.


    It is a good idea to have a pen and paper handy to note things down during your appointment.


    If using video, you could also ask them to send this information via a short chat message so you have it in a written format.

  • How can my clinician provide a physical examination?
  • How should I set up my room to help a physical examination?
    • Make sure your room is well-lit and you are not in shadow.
    • Make sure any equipment is in working order and that the batteries are charged.
    • The clinician may ask you to move your camera/device to get a better view.
    • One useful trick is to reverse the camera on your webcam when you do the examination so you see what the clinician sees.
  • What happens if I am asked to do an examination myself during a video appointment?

    When you are asked to do an examination (e.g.  check your ankles for swelling):

    • Don’t rush. You are probably not a medical expert so it is likely to take you longer, especially the first time.
    • Ask the clinician to show as well as tell you what to do. They may be able to demonstrate on their own body. Don’t worry if you don’t know the official medical names for things, the clinician will know what you mean.
    • Think about how much help you want from a carer or other assistant. If the examination is likely to involve moving the webcam to visualise a part of your body you cannot reach with your webcam , another person may be able to help.
  • What happens at the end of a telephone or video appointment?
  • What if there is something I have not understood?
    • Towards the end, the clinician will probably ask you if there is anything else you want to cover, and suggest when your next appointment should be. This happens in much the same way as in a face-to-face appointment.
    • It may be necessary to summarise or clarify things that were missed as a result of technical interference. In particular, make sure you are clear about medication and dosages and ask for confirmation in the chat window if necessary.
  • How do we end a telephone or video appointment?

    The appointment ends when you click the Leave meeting button.

    Don’t worry if you can’t find it – the clinician will close the session.

  • What happens after my telephone video appointment?
  • What about follow-up activities?

    After the clinician has finished talking to you, they will arrange various things like letters, blood test forms and other appointments if required.

  • Will I do my next appointment via telephone, video or face-to-face?

    Before completing your telehealth appointment together, discuss with your clinician about whether your next appointment should be in-person or via telephone or video.

    Remember that just because you have had a telehealth appointment does not mean your next appointment has to be telehealth.

    Take note of the clinician's advice. Just because you felt the consultation went fine by video doesn't mean the clinician was confident that everything clinically necessary was achieved. If they are uneasy about another video appointment, ask why.

  • Will it get easier with time and practice?

    It is likely that you will become more familiar and confident with the technology over time. So, if it seems strange or difficult for the first appointment, it may get easier for your following appointments.

  • Can I leave feedback?

    We always value your feedback so feel free to share your experiences and views (positive or negative) about video appointments to the clinician so that we can continue to improve our services.


    We may also contact you after your telephone or video appointment to ask you about your experience. It’s OK to point out that things didn’t go well and suggest ways of improving the experience for other patients.