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Virtual clinics

Last updated: 16 July 2020 at 3.15pm

A virtual clinic is a consultation by phone or video call instead of a face-to-face meeting.

During a virtual clinic, you will talk to the healthcare professional in charge of your care.

This may be:

  • a doctor
  • a nurse
  • a pharmacist
  • another health or social care professional

Your healthcare team will ask you if you would like to have a consultation in this way. A virtual clinic may not be for everyone. You don't have to have a virtual clinic if you don't want to.

Benefits of a virtual clinic

Virtual clinics:

  • reduce the need for you to visit a hospital or health facility
  • save you time, stress and the expense of travelling to your appointment
  • help you to maintain social distancing
  • help you to minimise your risk of infection

You may still have to go to a health facility or your GP for tests, such as blood tests. These are done before your appointment so that the results are back in time for your virtual clinic.

Getting a virtual clinic appointment

Your healthcare professional will contact you by letter, phone or text.

They will explain:

  • how you will get information about your appointment
  • the date and time of your appointment, how long it might last and any flexibility to change the appointment
  • who you will be talking to at the clinic
  • any equipment you may need
  • any data protection matters such as possible recordings of the session

How to prepare for a virtual clinic

Your health care team will give you information before the clinic to help you prepare.

They may recommend:

  • what equipment you will need such as a smartphone or laptop
  • having a private area for the consultation where you won’t be disturbed
  • what to do if you wish to have someone with you

Read more about patient information video consultations

If you need an interpreter

You may need an interpreter to translate for you. If you do, please let the healthcare team know when they contact you about a virtual clinic.

What happens during a virtual clinic

The healthcare professional will introduce themselves to you if you don’t know them already. They will talk to you about your condition and give any treatment or advice. This includes any next steps you may need like referring you to other services.

You will be able to give feedback on your experience if you wish.

Data protection

Your information will be stored in a secure location. This includes any recordings from the virtual clinic. This will be managed by the hospital, who must follow data protection law and regulations. This is to protect your privacy.

The laws and regulations include:

Related topics

Attend Anywhere: Patient information video consultations

Get urgent medical help for non-COVID-19 symptoms

Hospital services and visiting restrictions

Resuming hospital services (COVID-19)

page last reviewed: 03/07/2020
next review due: 03/07/2023