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Patient FAQs

Why have I been offered a video consultation?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started we have been offering video appointments to patients and will continue to do this.

Clinicians review patient lists and assess whether patients can be seen by video or telephone, rather than face-face. This is to keep people away from hospital and help to delay the spread of the virus.

We also recognise that traditional face-face appointments are not always convenient for patients due to travel and time commitments. This is why we will continue to offer video consultations after the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is involved in a video consultation?

Video consultations are similar to a face-to-face consultation. If you need to have diagnostic tests or a physical examination, then a video consultation may not be right for your care. Clinicians must still always maintain confidentiality, including when delivering a video consultation.

Do I have to have a video consultation?

No. If you do not want a video consultation, please let the team know when they call to book. If you change your mind after booking, please contact the number at the top of your appointment letter or the Appointment Centre on 0117 342 6888 to rearrange your appointment.

The clinician should also check you are ok to proceed on video at the start of the video consultation. You are able to stop the video consultation at any time if you change your mind during the appointment or feel uncomfortable having a video consultation.

Will it affect my care if I choose not to take part in a video consultation?

Your care will not be affected if you decline video consultations, it may however mean the clinician cannot see you as quickly due to the high demand for face-to-face appointments.

How do I attend an outpatient appointment by video?

Instead of physically travelling to the appointment and sitting in a waiting room, you will enter an 'online waiting room'.

What number will the appointment text messages come from? 

Messages are sent from the mobile number ending in 039092.

Can I invite a family member or carer into the video consultation?

Absolutely! A benefit of this technology is that others can join your appointment, such as a relative, friend, guardian, or carer. If they are with you in person, just let the clinician know at the start of the appointment that you would like them to be present.

If someone is joining from a different location, you can send them the private link in your text message or email. To share it you can forward your text message to them, or copy-and-paste the link from the message into an email.

The link you receive is private to your video consultation, please only share it with people you want to join the consultation.

It may be worth checking with your doctor or the hospital first and confirm that it is okay for you to invite someone else. Imagine your appointment was at the hospital - would your doctor expect you to bring this person into the consultation room with you?

What if I need communication support to have an appointment? I speak another language, or I communicate using British Sign Language, I have a learning disability or I have another reason for needing support.

Please let us know of any communication needs you may have prior to the appointment. You can also share the link to the appointment with another person or persons on the day.

Is the DrDoctor patient portal compatible with internet browser built-in translation services?

Yes. The portal is compatible with browser's built-in translation services, and therefore works with services such as BrowseAloud. BrowseAloud adds speech, reading, and translation support tools to websites, makes online content more accessible for people with Dyslexia, Low Literacy, English as a Second Language (it enables automated transcription into over 100 languages), and those with mild visual impairments.

How much does a video call cost?

The service is offered free of charge. If you make your video call over a WiFi connection, your call will be free apart from what you already pay for your internet usage.

If you make your video call using your mobile data, you may be charged extra by your network provider if you go over your data allowance. You should connect to WiFi where possible to avoid using your mobile data.

My camera and microphone aren't working?

Step 1: Check the onscreen button to see if your camera and microphone are turned on

If you are muted and your camera is off, the camera and microphone button will be red. Click the icons to turn your camera and video on.

Step 2: Update your browser

Check if your browser is up-to-date. The two most recent versions of the browsers are supported. Video consultations work best when using Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Microsoft Edge. Internet explorer is not supported.

Step 3: Check if you've accidentally blocked permissions?

When you first join your video consultation, we ask permission to access your camera and microphone. If you chose 'Block' instead of 'Allow' this will be stopping your audio and video from working.

In this case, refresh the page and follow the instructions which appear on screen, choosing 'Allow' when prompted.

You can click the camera icon in the URL bar. Depending on your browser the camera icon may be on the left or right of the bar. Choose "Allow" and then try again. You may need to refresh your page.

Step 4: Check the microphone and camera settings on your computer

Go to your computer settings page and check that your browser is allowed access to your Camera and Microphone. Check the tick boxes next to your browser and refresh the video consultation URL.

If you cannot get your camera and microphone to work your clinician will phone you on your mobile number.

I have poor video/audio quality. Is there anything I can do to improve it?

Poor WIFI connections often cause quality and connectivity problems with video consultations. Follow the steps below to try and improve your connection.

Please do not try and have your video consultation on the move. The quality of the video will probably be poor, or the call will break up completely. Walking to work, on the bus or in a car are not good places to have a video consultation.

Step 1: Move closer to your router, and ask other people to stop using the WIFI temporarily.

Your internet connection can be influenced by other people using the bandwidth (e.g streaming shows or making other video calls).

Try moving closer to the Wi-Fi router or asking other users to temporarily stop using the bandwidth.

Make sure that there are no dense objects between you and the router.

Plug into the router box with an Ethernet cable is usually better than using WiFi.

Step 2: Check your internet speed You can check your internet speed online using

One-on-one consultations require at least 2.0 Mbps upload, 2.5Mbps download speeds, and a Ping score of less than 100 ms.

Step 3: VPNs and Firewalls

If your internet bandwidth is good, it could be an issue with a VPN or a firewall. If you are using a VPN, please disable it. For video consultations to work with firewalls, port 443 will need to open to all TCP and UDP traffic.

Step 4: Ask others on the call to use only audio, as appropriate.

As numbers of people on a call increase, the call quality can reduce. If appropriate ask others on the call to turn off their video, this may help. If the quality of the call is really disruptive you can say to the clinician that you would prefer a telephone appointment, or to meet in person.

Will video consultations work on my phone, tablet, or computer?

Video consultations are compatible with most devices. However, they may not work with some older devices. They will work with the following:

  • Windows: Windows 7 and later
  • Mac: MacOS 10.10 and later
  • Linux: Any x64 based system
  • iPhone and iPad:
    • For Safari - iOS version 13.1 and later
    • For Chrome - iOS 14.5 and later.

How can I get to my video consultation from a computer or tablet?

Option 1: Sign into the patient portal on your computer

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your last name, date of birth and postcode
  3. Choose the phone number where you would like to receive your one-time code
  4. Enter your one-time code into the portal
  5. Choose the 'Appointments' tab and select the appointment you want to join 6. Click the 'Join video room' button 7. You are now in your video consultation, please wait here for your clinician to join.

Option 2: Copy and paste the link in your text message into an email

As an alternative, you can copy-and-paste the video link from your text message into an email and send it to yourself. Open the email on the other computer and the link will still work. This may be quicker and easier if you are familiar with copy-and-pasting links.

Can I use the same link for future video appointments?

No. You will be sent a unique video link before each appointment.

What is DrDoctor?

We use DrDoctor as a technology partner to deliver messages and services to you about your appointments and your care and treatment. DrDoctor is a digital health company modernising how hospitals and patients communicate. They provide a convenient way for patients to manage appointments while reducing costs, saving time, and developing better overall experiences for patients.

You can rest assured that if you receive a text message with a link from DrDoctor then this is from us.

How is my data handled?

To enable us to deliver this service, we give DrDoctor only enough information to provide you with these services.

DrDoctor is accredited to the highest standards set by the NHS for protecting the healthcare information of UK citizens as certified here: For more information on DrDoctor's privacy policy please see