Telephone and video consultations with GP surgeries

More and more consultations with GP surgeries are done on the phone or by video. What’s your experience of this so far and how could it be made easier for more people?


My experience, is that phone or video consultations seems to have freed up GP time and they seem to be able to speak to more people. However if a face to face appointment is not available and they are asking patients to send in photos of their problem, this can cause a delay in speaking to doctor or receiving advice.
Being of the tech era, I think a app for GPs linked to their Clinical system would help ease this delay, as well as a statement on surgery website explaining we may ask for a photo before treatment can be discussed.


My GP practice is starting to use Engage Consult

It has worked well for me so far. My main concern has been that I have been given a wide window for a telephone consultation - say from 1pm - 6pm - which can be tricky to manage, especially if you’re working.

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Thanks V Scott. Glad to know it has worked well. We’ve heard from others about the wide window for telephone calls back and need to work with GP practices to make it better for people.

I had a telephone consultation and felt the GP had more time for me than if I had met him F2F. He also followed up my enquiry with another call that afternoon. From my experience, I felt that telephone consultations are freeing up GP’s time and allowing them to spend more time with each patient.

Thanks Smithy. That’s definitely the impression we are getting.

Hi Jo at the moment I have no feedback from our patients re North Swindons use of Engage Consult.
Have set up a chat with Chris for next week to get the Surgeries views.

I have knowledge of three GP phone consultations at my surgery:-

  1. The GP seemed to have more time to consult. The patient was able to talk about everything they wanted.
  2. The wide time window for a GP consultation is a difficulty when you are working or have to go out and cannot talk about confidential health issues in a public space. In two of the three cases the GP call back was not in the designated window or even on the appointed day. But it did happen without follow up from the patient.
  3. All three patients (who were ‘formal Telphone meeting’ experienced and IT literate) much preferred the convieneience and safety and time effieiciency of a telphone consultation.
  4. I would like to see technology where a third party could be patched into the Dr/Patient call - important for remote Carers, Adult children of Elderly patients etc.
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Thanks Harry. It will be interesting to hear the outcome and to know which other practices are using the same (or different) software and when.

Thanks HJBB. I was talking to GPs at one practice a couple of weeks ago about using Language Line interpreters on a three-way call. I think it must be possible. Maybe someone else in the forum knows?

I have personally used telephone appointment several times. Has worked well although when I had a physio appointment I was surprised that the video facility was not used - it would have made it a lot easier.
When patients were surveyed in our practice, they were overwhelmingly in favour. They liked that fact that if they needed a face to face it was often the same day.

Thanks HighworthGrecian. Which software platform is your surgery using - ie if it had been a video consultation how would it have been done?

I will check with the surgery.

I have had two emergency telephone appointments and one physio appointment over the last two weeks- (North Bristol).
I was not offered the option to have a video consultation. Video call would have been my preference if offered.
Trying to diagnose a neck / back pain (nerve / torn / sprained muscle) would seem to be much more likely / easier with video

Hi Jo
Westrop use AccuRx


Thanks Phil. That seems to be the software they use for transferring photos etc. I used Engage Consult to request a telephone conversation with the GP and sent them a couple of photos using Engage Consult. But when the practice wanted to send the photos to GWH to look at, I got a text from the surgery asking me to upload them to AccuRx….




Thanks John. Any idea which software your surgery is using for videocalls?

No, but I will ask :slight_smile:

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Hi Jo some thoughts some may apply to Surgeries not using Video Consulting but simple telephone consults. We ask for a consult yesterday, for a third party. So can see where that option could be useful. However tho we were told the Call Back would be PM, not given a time orwindow of time. Due to work commitments chased at 16.30. We were told the Nurse allocated had passed to a GP, working until possibly 20.00 but no time given. This has to improve, changes such as consult being passed on like this should be communicated to the patient. Using new tech, as previously mentioned elsewhere has challenges, phones may be banned in workplaces or you may be in a public place, not able to talk. So more effort/resource will be needed to improve out going comms. It’s not all about the Practices, Patients need to be considered as well. Not sure that is currently the case.

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