A staggering 1.5 million virtual consultations took place within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board in the last two years.

According to Scotland's largest health board, figures show that 1,250,000 phone appointments and 238,000 video consultations were carried out between patients and clinicians after the Covid pandemic in 2022 and 2023.

This follows a patient survey that found that 98 percent who had a virtual consultation said they would do it again.

NHSGGC said the new mode of taking appointments benefitted some patients additionally saving them time and money.

The health board said face-to-face appointments will, however, always be an available option for those needing physical examination or when complex information must be shared.

(Image: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde)

Both patients and clinicians have an opportunity to discuss the option of having a virtual appointment, as the NHSGGC aims to boost its use of video and phone consultations when clinically relevant.

NHSGGC evaluated Near Me, their video consultation platform, and found that 83 percent of the responders find it easy to use while more than half reported it saved their time, with nearly two-thirds recommending Near Me to their family and friends.

Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for Acute Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Virtual consultations make sense for a large number of patients and we would encourage people to ask their clinician if this type of appointment may be appropriate for them.

“Remote appointments, either by video link or by phone, allow us to deliver care to patients while they remain at home.

“This reduces the need to ask them to make what could be a substantial journey to a hospital or outpatient clinic to explain something in person which could have been done virtually.

“Some appointments will of course require to be face-to-face, such as when a physical exam is necessary, and we want to assure patients that their consultation will only ever be offered virtually where it is clinically appropriate.”