What is it like to have a video consultation?

By Maya Harris, consultant urologist, the Birmingham Prostate Clinic

As a nation, we are all bracing ourselves during the current lockdown due to COVID-19 emergency.  In this difficult time, every trip to outside is a risky business, especially for those aged 70 and above people who have underlying conditions.

However, life does not stop, and many patients still require help with their urological conditions. Our existing patients need follow-up consultations and many feel anxious about how these will take place. At the Birmingham Prostate Clinic, we have a long-established system of telephone consultations to support patients who live far from our services and may wish to have a second opinion, or have a follow-up consultation without the need to travel.

In common with the Government and services throughout the country, we are also using Zoom as a means of offering video consultations.  Although face-to-face appointments are the best way and the patient examination is not possible via video, good contact can be established in my experience.

Zoom video application is free and requires only an email to get registered.  In order to set the appointment, I will email a link and a video consultation is established on a computer or other device connected to the internet by clicking on the link.  I found that even that the older generation patients find it easy to use and I will be available to provide backup via telephone.

While the focus is necessarily on COVID-19, it is important to keep in mind urological problems, if left untreated, can make you very unwell, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones or retention of urine.

As a very experienced urologist, I am able to listen carefully to your complaints and provide advice, as well as post you a prescription. Many patients’ conditions could be improved by life-style adjustment and reassurance.  I am also able to advise when an urgent face-to-face appointment for examination is essential and we are able to arrange an appointment in a safe setting, following Department of Health guidelines.