Video consultations extended to pharmacy, optometry and dentistry in Wales

Video consultation has given thousands of people access to healthcare services during the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

People across Wales will be able to have video consultations with their dentists, opticians and local pharmacies, after an extension of the service was announced.

Video consultation has enabled essential services to continue, whilst also protecting patients and NHS employees from increased risk of infection.

GP practices, hospitals and community services have already been using the technology successfully, carrying out more than 15,000 video consultations so far.

The feedback is said to be "overwhelmingly positive," with 97% of patients who have used the service rating it as 'excellent', 'really good' or 'good'.

It is also estimated that consultation by video has saved 36,000 miles of travel and 1,200 hours of travel time, as well as reducing Co2 emissions by nine tonnes.

How will each service use video technology in its consultations?

  • Community pharmacies will use video calls to provide advice for common ailments and emergency contraception services. It will also enable them to help patients manage their medicines and give support for people who want to stop smoking.

  • In dentistry, video calls will support pre-visit consultations to get an understanding of the patient's medical history and allow a clinical assessment.

  • Optometry, too, will benefit from video consultation by using it for pre-visit check-ups on a patient’s medical history. It will also support triage to examine a person’s eyelids. Video can also be used to allow a specialist ophthalmologist to join the consultation call if needed.

The health minister said video technology has helped overcome the challenges of social distancing. Credit: PA Images

Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “The coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have had to rapidly expand and adapt services. Video consultation has allowed us to overcome the challenges that social distancing brings.

“Thousands of people have already received care via video consultation. I’m pleased to be able to extend this service to dentistry, optometry and community pharmacies, which will see even more people benefit.”

Mr Gething said the Welsh Government will pilot the service this month.

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