HEALTH leaders in Warrington have issued advice to patients who are due to experience phone or video GP appointments.

The way people access healthcare has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with more residents seeing their surgery appointments conducted virtually rather than face-to-face.

One way of speaking to GPs, should it be deemed clinically appropriate, is via the telephone or online through video software.

To assist this, NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group has created a guide to help those that may not feel too confident using technology rather than visiting surgeries in person.

A spokesman said: “We know for some people, speaking to a doctor, nurse or other healthcare practitioner via video or on the phone can be daunting.

“To support patients to get the most out their online or phone consultation, we have pulled together some top tips on how best to prepare the technology, environment and yourself if your GP suggests a call rather than a face-to-face appointment.”

The best locations for calls are quiet and private, with limited distractions. Headphones are advised, as are well lit rooms.

Patients are advised to have any hospital or GP letters that you may need with you and a pen and paper to write things down.

Make sure you have a list of your medication to hand in case you are asked.

Patients should test any links you have been sent prior to the appointment to familiarise yourself with the platform, while ensuring you have enough battery life is essential.

When on video calls, check your microphone and camera are working and that you have a good Wi-Fi connection where you are.

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When on phone calls, check your signal and move to a place where it is strongest if possible.

Switching to hands free will make it easier to take notes of the consultation.

Before the call, take the time to write down in advance your symptoms and how serious you think they are, the questions you would like answered and the concerns on your mind.

During the call, ask for the consultant’s name, job title and number to call if you lose connection, writing them down so you do not forget.

Tell the person you are speaking to what you would like to get out of the consultation and check your questions off the list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

There can sometimes be a delay online, so remember to leave a pause to make sure the person has finished speaking.