Video and telephone appointments
Your appointment with a healthcare professional (clinician) may take place over video or telephone, or you may be offered the choice of attending via video, phone call or face-to-face.
Video and phone consultations
A video explaining how video and phone consultations work, for outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England.
Your clinician may routinely provide telephone appointments, or may offer this option.
You may be called on a private number, which would show as "no caller ID." This is one way in which healthcare professionals may choose to ensure efficient running of services, and increase the safety and privacy levels for staff.
If a doctor or other healthcare professional recommends you attend an appointment by phone call, you will get a text, email or letter with a date and time for the appointment.
Your clinician may routinely provide video appointments, or may offer this option.
A video appointment can also be described as a video consultation.
Many NHS services now offer video consultations.
In a video consultation, you will speak to a doctor or healthcare professional using the video camera in your smartphone, tablet or computer.
This can save you time as you will not need to travel for a face-to-face appointment. It also helps to stop infections spreading such as COVID-19 and the flu - offering increased protection for patients and staff/
If a doctor or other healthcare professional recommends you attend an appointment by video call, you will get a text, email or letter with a date and time for the appointment.
What do I need for a video consultation?
To attend a video consultation you need:
- a smartphone, tablet or computer that allows video calling – remember to make sure your microphone and camera are switched on
- a stable internet connection
- a well-lit, quiet and private space
What happens during a video consultation?
A video call is very similar to a face-to-face appointment. You will get the same care.
Your clinician will ask you questions about your health to work out the best treatment for you. You can also ask any questions you may have.
It might help to write down what they say, so you can keep a record. Any notes will be added to your record after the call.
If you are prescribed any medication, your clinician will give you advice on how to take it.
They can refer you to further services if needed, or give you advice- just as they would during a face-to-face appointment.
If your video call does not work or you do not have signal, they will try to speak to you via phone call instead.
If this is not possible, you will be able to rebook your appointment.
Tips for attending your virtual appointment
A video providing tips on how to help your virtual appointment to run smoothly.