What is a remote consultation?
This means that your appointment will not be face to face and instead will be on the telephone or using some form of video application through the internet, such as Skype, Zoom or Facetime, depending on each clinician’s preference.
Why should I accept the offer of a remote consultation?
You are not forced to accept a remote consultation. Many of our clinicians are offering face-to-face appointments with social distancing measures in place, so if that is your preferences please let us know when you enquire.
However, for those shielding, self-isolating or just limiting their contact with others, we do not want your mental health to deteriorate whilst you are waiting for the situation to normalise. By accepting a remote consultation you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe, whilst still receiving the benefits of a consultation with a professional.
How can I prepare for a remote consultation?
Check that your technology is working. This includes making sure you have a secure internet connection and that your camera is turned on, if this is the method you have chosen.
If you are not familiar with the application you have chosen to use for the appointment, you could try a practice call with someone else or ask someone familiar to guide you. There are also help guides available for almost all the applications on the internet if you type: ‘How to use (Skype) for beginners’.
If you have chosen a telephone call, make sure you have a full battery and can accept withheld numbers, as it is likely that you will be called from one.
Remove any sensitive material that is around you or in the background and make sure that only those who you would like to be involved can hear you (e.g. closing the doors, using headphones).
Are remote consultations still confidential and is my data still protected?
Absolutely. All our normal confidentiality and data protection rules apply here. For new patients, you are asked to complete a GDPR form, which explains exactly what we will be doing with your data, and a consent to assessment form, which asks for permission to share information with your GP.
The chosen application to video chat has been deemed secure and the clinician will ensure that there is no one else present on their side (unless, exceptionally, this is discussed with you and you agree). If you would like someone to join your consultation, please discuss this with your clinician.
What if there is a technical issue during the appointment?
Technical issues are very common when using video chatting applications. This may include freezing of both video and sound or losing connection entirely. You should normally wait for the clinician to call you back but if you do not hear from them, you can contact our Practice on 0370 162 0673 (ext 1).
There may be a few things that you need to do differently so that you can communicate with the clinician, such as speaking louder or slower and they may need to be asked to do the same – please do not hesitate to say if you cannot follow the consultation clearly.
To get the best out of your appointment, you should be as relaxed as you can be and express any concerns you have with the technology early on so the clinician can sort things out. It is fairly normal to spend 5 minutes or so making sure things are okay from a technical perspective.
I think I really need a face-to-face appointment …
If you think the remote consultation is not going to work for you, please let us know. Many of our clinicians are still offering face to face consultations (with 2 metres spacing). Phoenix Mental Health Services LLP takes your safety and the safety of others very seriously; you can see our safety measures here.
Please note that some of our clinicians have moved to ‘remote-only’ consultations, so it is possible you will be recommended another clinician if you would like a face-to-face appointment.
This is an information page related to how Phoenix Mental Health Services LLP are carrying out remote consultations and not an advice page. This is not an alternative to any other advice you may have been given and you should not rely on this as the general method for remote consultations.
We do not offer an out of hours or emergency service so if you are experiencing a medical issue please contact your GP for advice or, in an emergency, ring 111 or 999, as appropriate.
Although we make every effort to ensure our information is accurate and up to date, we cannot be held responsible for inaccurate or out of date technical information. If you have any feedback on this resource, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.