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Patient FAQs

Why have I been offered a video consultation?

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak we are offering many video appointments to patients.

Clinicians have reviewed patient lists and assessed whether patients can be seen by video or telephone, rather than face-face. This is to keep people away from hospital and help to delay the spread of the virus.

We also recognise that traditional face-face appointments are not always convenient for patients due to travel and time commitments. This is why we will continue to offer video consultations after the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

What is involved in a video consultation?

Video consultations are similar to a face-face consultation. If you need to have diagnostic tests or a physical examination then a video consultation may not be right for your care. Clinicians must still maintain confidentiality at all times, even when delivering a video consultation.

 

Do I have to have a video consultation?

No. If you do not want a video consultation please let the team know when they call to book. If you change your mind after booking, please contact the Appointment Centre on 0117 342 6888 to rearrange your appointment.

The clinician should also check you are ok to proceed on video at the start of the video consultation. You are able to stop the video consultation at any time if you change your mind during the appointment, or feel uncomfortable having a video consultation.

 

Will it affect my care if I choose not to take part in a video consultation?

Your care will continue even if you decline a video consultation. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak, if may mean that the clinician cannot see you as quickly as usual. This is because we are expecting high levels of staff sickness and demand on our services, as well as trying to keep people away from hospital to reduce the spread of the virus. We therefore hope that offering video consultations means that your care can continue throughout the outbreak.

 

How do I attend an outpatient appointment by video?

Instead of physically travelling to the appointment and sitting in a waiting room, you will enter an 'online waiting room'.

 

Can someone else accompany me in this appointment?

Absolutely! A benefit of this technology is that others can join your appointment, such as a relative, friend, guardian, or carer. If they are with you in person, just let the clinician know at the start of the appointment that you would like them to be present.

If someone is joining from a different location they should follow the same instructions as you to enter the waiting room. As soon as the clinician starts your video consultation inform them of the name of the person you would like to join the call. The clinician should then be able to add them to the call.

 

Does it cost money?

The service is offered free of charge as part of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

If you make your video call over a WiFi connection, your call will be free apart from what you already pay for your internet usage.

If you make your video call using your mobile data, you may be charged extra by your network provider if you go over your data allowance. You should connect to WiFi where possible to avoid using your mobile data.

 

Feedback about your appointment

After your video consultation you will receive a link to a patient survey. Your feedback about this service is really important to us, so we can make sure we improve video consultations. We are very grateful for you completing this survey.

 

Some tips for having your consultation:

  • Look at the screen. There is no need to look directly at the camera.
  • Use the screen camera to show things, such as where you are feeling pain.
  • If you get cut off and can't reconnect, wait for a phone call.
  • Write down advice or instructions, and make sure you understand the next steps. Ask if you are unclear about anything.
  • If all goes well, the call will feel like a face-face appointment.
  • When you've both said goodbye, you can disconnect.

 

The sound and picture quality isn't very good. Is there anything I can do to improve it? 

Both your and the clinicians' bandwidth can impact the quality of the calls. To ensure that your internet connection is maximised, these are some simple things you can try:

  1. Plug into the router box with an Ethernet cable is usually better than using WiFi
  2. Move closer to the router
  3. Make sure that there are no dense objects between you and the router
  4. Stop everyone else in the house using the internet at the same time (especially streaming videos)
  5. Don't use the microwave (seriously!) and reduce the use of other electronics (such as washing machine and TV) as these can affect the signal

The more people on the call, the lower the quality of the call. So if you have more than one clinician, an interpreter, and a family member all dialled into the video call, the quality will start to decrease.

If the quality of the call is really disruptive you can say to the clinician that you would prefer a telephone appointment, or to meet in person.