Observations: The changing interactions with doctors as a result of the pandemic

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve only used standard NHS GP services, not the fancy digital services like Babylon.

My local GP services have always required face-to-face appointments. My GP surgery also always had a 2-week wait for appointments which is very frustrating.

During the pandemic, I needed to see a doctor to discuss a pain I had been feeling, but I was not confident I could communicate my issue clearly over the phone. In addition, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the same outcome compared to a face-to-face appointment where the doctor could poke and prod until they could feel what was wrong or wait for a reaction.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant no face-to-face appointments; I now needed to describe what was wrong virtually. Something I wasn’t confident in doing successfully.

This has been a long-winded way to say I was pleased to see how my doctor adapted its services to cater to remote appointments.

For the first time, I was able to have a virtual appointment. Virtual appointments meant the doctor could see me (remotely) to diagnose my issue.

MVP 1.0

The first time I had a doctor’s appointment during the pandemic, I was asked to send a photograph of the affected area. Better than describing it over the telephone alone, this mode of communicating what was wrong still fell short of my previous face-to-face appointments.

Pre-pandemic, I would walk away from the face-to-face appointment, feeling that the doctors had fully understood my ailment.

MVP 2.0

My second doctor’s appointment during the pandemic was a video appointment. This time the doctor could observe me poking and prodding the affected area to demonstrate my ailment and show them exactly where it was whilst asking me questions.


It’s been great to see how NHS services have moved with the times and incrementally updated their offering to help provide an improved service to their users. For example, video appointments like this will aid patients’ confidence that they are receiving a level of service that is as close as possible to what they are used to pre-pandemic.

The speed at which video appointments were introduced demonstrates an organisation moving fast to adapt its service due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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