Video consultations


In line with other NHS Trusts, at NELFT we are planning to conduct appointments by telephone and video consultation where clinically appropriate, rather than asking you to come to appointments in person.

In some cases we will need to see you for a face-to-face appointment.

What is a video consultation?

A video consultation is a video call between you and your clinician using the internet and a laptop, computer, tablet or mobile smart phone. Video consultations enable you to have your appointment from the comfort of your own home.

What do I need to make an online video call?

•    The device you use will need to have a camera, speakers and microphone.
•    Download the relevant app (WebEx/WhatsApp) from the Apple store or Google Play before the VC appointment
•    A private well-lit area, where you will not be disturbed.
•    A good connection to the internet (if you can watch a video on your device you will be able to make a video call).
•    To avoid being charged for using mobile data, please try to use your device with your home Wi-Fi network.

What device can I use for a video consultation?

You will need either a mobile smart phone, tablet, PC or laptop with integrated microphone, speaker and video. This is dependent on the solution used between you and the clinician.

If I have a video consultation once will I always have to see my clinician via a video consultation?

No, video consultations will only be used by our clinicians in circumstances where physical examinations and diagnostic tests are not required. Video consultations are a solution to long journeys; car parking costs and delays in clinic currently experienced by patients but will not replace the requirement for patients to come into hospital for physical examinations.

I don’t have a device that has a camera and microphone; can I still have a video consultation?

Unfortunately not, to hold an effective video consultation our clinicians will need to both see and hear you therefore your device must have a camera and a microphone.

Would you recommend using Wi-Fi or 4G to access my appointment?

You can access your appointment using either Wi-Fi or 4G, however we would recommend using a Wi-Fi network as 4G coverage can sometimes be unreliable. Accessing your appointment using Wi-Fi will also ensure you avoid unnecessary use of your data allowance.

Applications and security

The Trust has its own trusted systems that can be used for video consultations, but we understand that you may want to use a free application that you are familiar with, such as WhatsApp video or FaceTime. 

There is more of a risk associated with confidentiality when using these free systems as we do not have overall control over their use – so we cannot guarantee security updates are being applied, for example, or where the users’ data is being stored.

This is patient choice and if you wish to use these applications for video consultations, we are happy to facilitate this.

Patients need to be aware that the strength of the internet / 4G signal may have an impact on the quality of the video consultations. If this occurs and there are problems with the connection we would advise to fall back on a standard telephone consultation instead.

We will ask for your explicit consent in regards to the use of video consultation applications (Trust solutions or WhatsApp/FaceTime) verbally, via text or email etc.  Your consent will be documented in your electronic patient record.  This consent applies to video consultations across all NELFT services unless you object. Please discuss with your care team if you have concerns regarding video consultations.