Together we will beat cancer


Are video calls the future for cancer care?

30 Nov 2017 12:16

I spotted a story that ran recently, which talked about a trial that allowed specialist nurses to carry out basic patient health assessments via video call.

It was designed to see if it would make life easier for people by cutting out the need to travel and sit waiting in clinics. And judging by the response of one of the participants, who said it’s “definitely the way forward”, it could be something that we see more of in the future.

What do you think? Is this the future or would you rather talk face-to-face with someone? I’d be really keen to hear what you think!


Re: Are video calls the future for cancer care?

30 Nov 2017 13:18 in response to Moderator Helen

Hi Helen,

I have a distinct feeling of deja vu here! Way back in 2000 I helped set up a similar trial with cancer patients in East Lancashire having tele-consultations with oncologists in Central Lancashire. This resulted in the oncologists doubling their number of consultations per day, patients avoided a 30 to 60 mile round trip through heavy traffic and the stress of finding somewhere to park. 

We were told to expect this service to be rolled out across the NHS within two years but apart from some high profile presentations at national conferences nothing happened. This was due to the reorganisation and restructuring of the NHS which saw all three organisations involved in the trial disbanded and new ones created. This major restructuring imposed by politicians has happened another three times since then! 

This time I think change will happen because the tele-conferencing technology has moved on and is cheaper and ubiquitous. What used to need expensive specialist equipment installed in a dedicated room at both a hospital and a GP surgery can now be done using smart phones, laptops or tablets from any location with WiFi or a decent 4G signal.

It will never completely replace face to face consultations, for example for a first consultation following diagnostic tests, but it will be great for routine ones such as the ones I have after my six monthly scans which require a 30 mile round trip for a five minute consultation. 

Best wishes


Re: Are video calls the future for cancer care?

30 Nov 2017 13:37 in response to davek

Hi Dave, 

How interesting that you were part of a trial for this back in 2000! 

It's amazing how much technology seems to have progressed in just a few short years. And it's great to hear that tele-consultations might help save cancer patients precious time and energy, one day.

Has anyone else tried this sort of thing?  


Re: Are video calls the future for cancer care?

30 Nov 2017 16:45 in response to Moderator Helen

Hi Helen,

There are umpteen trials and pilots running at the moment, things are hotting up as the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) look at improving clinical efficiency and cost effectiveness (and coincidentally saving £22bn).

Just a quick sample:-

Clatterbridge have introduced a similar service for Cancer patients - see

St Helens are trialling something similar for other patients - see

GP's are looking at diagnosing based on symptoms sent to the online - see

Liverpool CCG have recently procured a new multi-million pound Telehealth service aimed at monitoring patients with long term conditions at home and reducing the number of home and clinic visits. The pilot referred to in this article is about to be extended into a full service as part of the STP have a section dedicated to "Digital Patients" at

Welcome to our Brave New World Wink


Best wishes