30 Apr 2020

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, how you have an appointment your GP, nurse or other GP surgery staff will be different to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Read our guidance on how to have a succesful video consultation.

Most appointments with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional will now be via phone call, or by a video call using your smartphone, tablet or computer if they need to see you.

If you have not had a video call before or are unsure how it works, it is an easy process and there is nothing to worry about. Read about GP online consultations or watch the video to find out how this works

During your video consultation you can speak to your doctor or nurse, in a private setting, as if you were both in the same room.

You will need:

  • an internet connection
  • a well-lit, quiet and private space – you can also have a family member with you, if you would like to
  • a computer, tablet or smartphone

You will need to allow microphone and camera access for the video consultation to work, making sure the built-in camera, microphone and volume are switched on.

Some video consultation systems let you test it is working before you start the call.

If you need to show the doctor or nurse your problem, you can use the video camera. If it's a place that is hard to reach, such as an injury to the back of your head, you may find it easier to take a good-quality photo or recording of the problem beforehand, so it can be shared.

You can ask the same questions you would if this was a face-to-face appointment at the GP surgery, and it is a good idea to write down any advice or next steps they give you.

While the video consultation will not be recorded, the doctor or nurse will make notes in your GP record in the usual way.

You might receive a follow-up online message or text containing further information or links to advice.

If something goes wrong during your video consultation, such as the connection being interrupted, your healthcare professional will call you back.

If the doctor or nurse feels you need to be seen in person, they may need to arrange a face-to-face appointment or home visit for you.

Online consultations should not be used if you need very urgent or emergency care.

Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Visit the NHS health at home website for more information on remotely using primary care services including ordering repeat prescriptions, managing long term conditions and accessing your GP practice remotely.