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Remote healthcare and advice

There are certain clinical and rehabilitation services that can be conducted remotely. This means that some treatments or advice can be given via telephone, email or Skype sessions online, from the comfort of home. This has benefits for the patient as well as saving time for you.

Benefits for patients:

  • Fewer visits to clinicians
  • Reduced travel times
  • More intensive rehabilitation, with potentially better outcomes
  • Access to treatment that might not otherwise be available, for example speech and language therapists for stroke patients, which might not be available for the full length of recovery.

Benefits for carers:

  • Fewer clinician visits
  • Less time taken out of work.

There are a range of remote healthcare options available. 

Online/remote GP advice

What is this?

Your GP may offer advice through an online consultation cutting down on visits to the surgery. You can now also access online medical advice some pharmacies offer a service with online doctors to access a prescription.

Who is it for?

Anyone with a health condition or for those who find it difficult to leave the house.

How do you get it?

Some NHS practices offer this, and there are other private providers such as Babylon.


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Online mental health treatment

What is this?

For some mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, there is now online support and counselling available delivered by trained professionals. Some of this support can be accessed 24-hours a day. There are also programmes that take you through an online therapy course.

Who is it for?

People with mental health problems, who don’t have access to face-toface therapies or who may refuse accessing face-to-face support.

How do you get it?

Some NHS practices or local authorities may offer services such as the Big White Wall or you can subscribe to these privately. There are also qualified counsellors offering online support.


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Computer-based SALT (speech and language therapy) routines

What are they?

There are online programmes that can support speech rehabilitation.

Who are they for?

People trying to regain their language skills, who may have had some face-to-face speech and language therapy but may not have completed their recovery or for those where the service is unavailable in their local area.

How do you get them?

Via a referral from a health professional.


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Physical therapy

What is this?

This uses special therapeutic equipment in your own home that sends signals to the therapist who runs a class remotely from another location.

Who is it for?

Anyone who needs to do specialised fitness work to strengthen their muscles but perhaps can’t easily attend an external session or they are not available.

How do you get it?

Offered through some NHS localities but there are also private providers.


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Telecoaching

What is this?

This is remote advice and guidance that can be used to secure a desired behaviour change, for example help to stop smoking. It can also be used to help deal with the impact of having a long-term condition or a new diagnosis.

Who is it for?

Anyone who needs help to bring about changes in their behaviour or who may need some additional support dealing with their condition.

How do you get it?

Offered through some NHS localities but there are also private providers.


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Apps

What are they?

Mobile apps can help manage health and care. There are apps that can train users to get rid of physical symptoms, such as severe pain. There are also pain management apps that help users track their pain and other symptoms, such asstress and fatigue. There are apps thatcan help individuals with conditions such as autism, anxiety, mild or moderate mental illness, or recovering from brain injuries. There are also apps that can help families and carers share and coordinate the care around someone more easily.

Who are they for?

People who want to manage their physical or mental health or who need help with managing care or caring.

How do you get them?

These are downloadable to your smartphone or tablet and are also available as web apps.


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Electronic games

What are they?

These types of games can help people to stop smoking, treat depression or lose weight.

Who are they for?

People who would like to change their behaviour or who need help to manage mental health problems.

How do you get them?

These are downloadable to your smartphone or tablet and are also available as web apps.


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Online advice

What is this?

Advice from specialist websites, such as NHS choices, online patient information services or symptom checkers.

Who is it for?

For people who do not necessarily need a doctor’s appointment, are unsure if their symptoms are cause for concern or find it difficult to get to a doctor’s appointment.

How do you get it?

The NHS has online health information and symptoms checkers, but there are a growing number of private providers offering this service for free (Babylon Health, Boots, Patient Information Forum).

"It can be so hard to get a doctor’s appointment at a time that suits an very often the question you want to ask turns out to be really simple.NHS Choices was brilliant at helping to understand whether Mum’s symptoms needed following up."


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