A telephone consultation is when you have an appointment over the phone. Telephone consultations mean you don't need to travel to have your appointment. This saves you time and money, and lowers your risk of coming into contact with the coronavirus during the pandemic.
Research shows that telephone consultations are effective. Your healthcare professional can still make good decisions about your treatment this way. You should get the same level of care as you would face-to-face. Just like with a face-to-face appointment, you can choose to have a friend or family member with you during the call.
1. a well-charged mobile or landline phone
2. a good, reliable phone signal
3. somewhere quiet and private
4. a comfortable chair
5. a notepad and pen
6. a list of questions, and any other notes that are helpful
Telephone appointments are just as private, confidential and secure as face-to-face appointments. Your healthcare professional will call you from a private room, with secure access to your medical records.
Preparing for your call
1. Write down any questions you have. This helps make sure you don’t forget any during the call.
2. Make a note of your osteoporosis history. For example:
- When you were diagnosed
- Bones you have broken
- Any pain you have
- Your current and previous medications – including ones for osteoporosis, or supplements such as calcium and vitamin D
- Bone density scan (DXA) or other test results if you have them
3. If you’re unsure, we’re here to help you. Speak to a specialist nurse on our free Helpline by calling free on 0808 800 0035, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How telephone consultations work
Your healthcare professional calls you. You don’t need to call them. You may need to wait beyond your appointment time while your healthcare professional finishes their previous call. Telephone appointments can sometimes overrun. At the start of your call, your doctor or specialist will ask some security questions. This is to check they’re speaking to the right person.
During the appointment your healthcare professional may:
- Tell you the reason for the call
- Ask questions about your health
- Make some assessments
- Discuss their opinion and any recommendations
- Give you an opportunity to ask any questions
- Summarise the next steps
Take notes if you wish, although your healthcare professional will make a written record of your appointment. You can ask for a copy of this from your GP.
Once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, it’s likely that telephone consultations will be more common than they were before. The pandemic means the NHS must try out new ways of caring for you. If these new ways are easier for you and medical staff, they’ll be used more often. Sharing your feedback after a telephone appointment helps the NHS improve future appointments.