Scottish Social Attitudes: Public Views of Telephone and Video Appointments in General Practice
Authors: Karen Munro, Fiona Macdonald, Debbie Sagar, Gregor Boyd, Joe Rennie-Taylor (Scottish Government).
Researchers: Victoria Wilson, Lucy Dean, Rachel Whitford and Alys Daniels-Creasey (ScotCen).
This report by the Scottish Government, using data from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, focuses on attitudes towards the use of telephone and video appointments in the general practice.
This report presents findings from the 2021/22 Scottish Social Attitudes survey (SSA), conducted between October 2021 and March 2022. It focuses on attitudes of the members of the public towards the use of telephone and video appointments in the general practice and seeks to explore the following themes:
- People’s comfort accessing healthcare by video/phone compared with face-to-face
- People’s ease accessing healthcare by video/phone compared with face-to-face
- What impacts people’s chosen method of accessing healthcare?
- What are people’s thoughts towards more use of digital health services (in place of face-to-face)
Key findings from this year’s ‘Public views of telephone and video appointments in general practice’ are:
People’s comfort accessing healthcare by video/face compared with face-to-face:
- A higher percentage of people thought that they would be more comfortable with a face-to-face appointment than a remote appointment.
- Those aged over 65 were more likely to be comfortable with face-to-face appointments in comparison to other age groups.
- People with self-reported good general health were more likely to be comfortable with phone and video appointments.
People’s ease accessing healthcare by video/phone compared with face-to-face:
- A higher percentage of people thought that talking to a doctor or nurse via phone was easier than face-to-face and/or video.
- Those without long-term illnesses, health problems or disabilities were more likely to say that it would be easy attending an in-person or video appointment in comparison to those without long-term illnesses.
What impacts a person’s decision to accept a remote appointment?
- The two biggest concerns for choosing to accept a remote appointment over face-to-face appointments were how worried someone was about their condition and how quickly someone could get an appointment.
- How easily someone could get to an appointment and how well someone knew the doctor they would be speaking to were lower priorities for the public.
What are people’s thoughts towards more use of digital health services?
- Over half of the public strongly agreed or agreed that replacing face-to-face appointments with remote appointments would ensure that those who needed a face-to-face appointment could get one quickly but that more remote appointments would result in doctors knowing their patients less well.
- Those with children under the age of 16 were more likely to agree that remote appointments were more convenient.
Scottish Social Attitudes is run by ScotCen Social Research and this module has been funded by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government have authored this report.
Every year, we ask 1,200 – 1,500 people to take part in Scottish Social Attitudes on the basis of random probability sampling.
This technique ensures that everyone in Scotland has an equal chance of being picked to take part, so the results are representative of the Scottish population.
Data are then weighted in order to correct for non-response bias and differential selection probabilities to ensure that they reflect the age-sex profile of the Scottish population.
About the Scottish Social Attitudes survey
SSA has been a face-to-face survey since 1999 but last year (2021/22), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey was conducted over the phone.
For other Scottish Social Attitudes reports, visit our SSA research page.