Remote consulting and recruitment

Resources and guidance to support remote ways of working.


Remote consulting reduces the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 infection for both patients and clinicians. It can be used for suspected COVID-19 consultations, and to maintain normal services, especially for patients in high-risk groups. Clinicians can use remote consulting to work from home, which may enable them to continue to be part of the NHS workforce.

There are two key types of remote consulting: telephone and video. Telephone consulting is widespread and is the first-line remote consulting method. However, there are some situations where video calling can offer additional clinical information and a greater presence in a call. In NHS Scotland, video consultations should be offered by Near Me, which can be accessed by all NHS clinicians.

This BMJ article provides a useful summary of using remote consulting for suspected COVID-19 cases, and compares the use of telephone and video consulting.

This page is divided into telephone and video consulting:

  • Telephone consulting
    • Telephone consultation skills
    • Establishing a telephone triage system in practice
    • Utilising telephone triage effectively
  • Video (Near Me) consulting
    • Technical skills
    • Video consulting skills
    • Using Near Me in practice
    • Additional resources
Telephone consulting

Telephone consultation skills, establishing a telephone triage system in practice and utilising telephone triage effectively:

This webinar will explain how telephone consultations may be used as an approach for handling requests for same-day primary care appointments and an effective way of engaging large numbers of people, prioritising need as required and often can also provide an appropriate alternative to face to face consultations. It will also include discussion around red flags and the importance of safety netting.

Supporting people in the management of long term conditions (LTC):

This webinar will explain how remote consultations may be used as an approach for managing Long Term Condition (LTC) reviews and includes the provision of support on how these reviews can be managed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It also comprises utilising consultation and communication skills to check understanding, engage in shared decision-making, ensuring what matters to you conversations and person centred care planning.

Question and Answers from events held on 26th and 31st March 2020:

Managing Diabetes and COPD/Bronchiectasis remotely:

This webinar follows on from our Remote Consulting in Primary Care webinar and focuses specifically on how, when using a person-centred approach, remote consulting may be used in Diabetes and COPD/Bronchiectasis management.

Question and Answers from event held on 30th April 2020:

NHS Near Me for General Practice Multi-diciplinary Teams (MDTs):

This webinar focuses on how NHS Near Me can offer opportunities to implement new ways of working for teams within the General Practice setting, thereby supporting continuity of person-centred care. There are sessions from Clare Morrison, National Lead for Near Me, GP teams across Scotland who are using Near Me to deliver care and also includes a live demo of Near Me.

Further telephone triage webinars will be posted here as they are developed and delivered.

Video (Near Me) consulting

Technical skills:

Video consulting skills:

Consulting by video requires different communication skills to those for in-person consulting. This training film describes how to provide a successful video consultation including the specific communication skills, clinician set up and patient selection. It also provides examples of good and bad consultations.

Checklist for video consulting skills:

Using Near Me in practice:

When starting to provide Near Me, clinicians and clinical services are advised to consider three things: technical set up, clinician training, and processes to embed video consulting into existing systems. This short film provides an overview of all three areas. The clinician training is covered in more detail above.

More detailed guidance for implementing Near Me in a variety of care settings and specialties.

Additional resources: