When to use remote versus face-to-face appointments

Use your clinical judgement and work with your patient to evaluate the suitability of remote appointments for their care. Our consultations appropriateness checklist suggests the main points to consider.

You should use your clinical judgement to decide when remote appointments are safe, feasible, and acceptable to your patient.

Weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of each type of consultation, ask your patient about their preference, and discuss their needs and situation to come to a decision together.

A video, telephone, or face-to-face consultations appropriateness template checklist (Word document) is available to download below.

Download a remote consultations appropriateness checklist

Video, telephone, or face-to-face consultations appropriateness checklist

Remote consultations are not appropriate or useful for all situations.

Review the below list of clinical scenarios and decide which consultation mode(s) may be most relevant (some may suit more than one mode).

Make sure the patient has access to clear instructions on how to have their remote consultation and try to find somewhere quiet and private to take the call, to reassure your patients of their privacy.

Clinical scenario Yes / No

Does the patient have any personal preference for a remote (phone or video call) appointment over an in-person appointment?


Does the patient have any physical needs which might need face-to-face assessment and/or is the patient's kidney condition stable and well-managed?


Is the patient hard of hearing and/or has sight problems?


Does the patient require translation services, if not easily conversant in the English language?


Does the patient have any mental health issues?


Does the patient have capacity to make decisions regarding their health and treatments?


Does the patient require any family support during appointments?


Are they able to receive a call at home in private?


Does the patient have good access to appropriate technology to receive a videocall?


Remote consultations: qualitative feedback from patients

I think we should be given the option of phone ones and face to face, certainly some other people that I’ve spoken to agree, they don’t mind having them, but not all the time because we feel there are things doctors can pick up [in a face-to-face consultation] and that you can open up better, because even if you don’t know the person, if you’re seeing them, it’s easier to communicate...
I think it is easier for them not to take on board what you are saying over the phone. It wasn’t malicious but he just ignored me.
It started as virtual but as I say, the virtual to me was technologically a hindrance because I don't know what platform they use but there is nobody there manning the platform. They would send me the link and there were some problems to begin with because it wouldn’t work on my computer, but it would work on my phone, but I wanted to sit down at my computer and do the face-to-face call but no, it didn’t happen.