Suitability of mode of consultation


Mei has been given a telephone appointment with a specialist GP to review the management of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder as she’s experiencing a change in symptoms.


Dr Douglas telephones his patient, Mei, at the pre-arranged time. They have not spoken before and he realises she is finding it difficult to hear what he is saying.  As a result, Mei is not giving him the information he needs in response to questions about her health.

What should the doctor do?

  • Continue the consultation and check the patient’s notes for any missing information.
  • Consider any other necessary adjustments (eg hearing loop).
  • Ask Mei what mode of consultation she would prefer.

What the doctor did

Mei explains that she finds it easier to understand what someone is saying when she can lip read. Together they agree that a video consultation would be more suitable.

Dr Douglas calls her back on a video conferencing platform, so they can communicate more easily. 

Mei explains her chest is getting tight and she is coughing more than usual. Dr Douglas prescribes antibiotics and steroids to help manage her condition. He also makes a note that Mei will need a video consultation or face to face appointment at the clinic in future to allow her to lip read.

What the doctor had to consider

  • Information should be given to patients in an accessible format.
  • The standards of good practice apply regardless of the setting in which a doctor works. 
  • If you can’t meet the standards via a remote consultation, switch to face to face or signpost to other services.
  • What is the most suitable mode of consultation for the patient? What are the patient's view?