Almost 1.5 million consultations between patients and clinicians have taken place virtually in Scotland’s biggest health board in the last two years.

Figures from NHS Greater Glasgow and Glasgow show that 1,250,000 telephone appointments were carried out after the Covid pandemic in 2022 and 2023.

A further 238,000 consultations took place by video.

The figures have been released by the health board following a patient survey, which it said found that 98% of those who had used virtual consultation would do so again.


The use of telephone and video-based medical appointments in hospitals, as well as GP surgeries, exploded during the pandemic as a result of social distancing rules. 

Although concerns have been raised that they may increase the risk of missed or wrong diagnoses, they are also seen as a vital tool to increase capacity in the NHS by enabling more appointments to take place overall as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with unnecessary travel to and from hospitals and health centres. 

Feedback from patients who are working, in education, or who have caring responsibilities has also indicated that many welcome the convenience of virtual appointments, as well as being able to save time and money on travel. 

NHSGGC said patients can discuss the option of having a virtual appointment with their clinician, as the health board looks to increase its use of video and phone consultations where clinically appropriate.

An evaluation by NHSGGC of Near Me, the video platform used by the health board and other public agencies to conduct appointments, found that 83% of those who responded said it was easy to use.

More than half said it had helped save them time, and almost two thirds told how they would recommend Near Me to their family and friends.

It is hoped that an increased use of video and telephone appointments will improve the way patients access services, and the way they are delivered.

NHSGGC stressed that face-to-face appointments will always be offered to those who need them for reasons such as the requirement for a physical examination, or when complex information must be shared.

Phone and video consultations are on the increase in the NHSPhone and video consultations are on the increase in the NHS

Dr Scott Davidson, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services, 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.”