DOI: 10.1177/20552076241233969 ISSN: 2055-2076

Experiences of remote consultation in UK primary care for patients with mental health conditions: A systematic review

Serena Antonio, David Joseph, Joanne Parsons, Helen Atherton
  • Health Information Management
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy


There has been a rapid shift from face-to-face to remote consultation across healthcare settings. 90% of patients with mental health conditions are cared for entirely in primary care. Remote consultation can present challenges and benefits for patients with mental health conditions. The aim of this systematic review was to collate and examine the evidence relating to remote consultation in UK primary care on the experiences of patients with mental health conditions.


Six major databases were searched for empirical studies published in the English language between 1 January 2010 and 21 October 2022. Studies were included where remote consultation occurred between a patient and primary care clinician. Outcomes of interest include mode of remote consultation, patient experiences and characteristics. Final included studies were assessed for quality, and results analysed with narrative synthesis.


Six studies met the inclusion criteria, covering a range of mental health conditions and remote consultation modalities (telephone, video, online, email, text-based). Patients were overall satisfied with remote consultation, with particular benefit for certain mental health conditions or anxious patients. However, several studies found that face-to-face was the preferred method, with highlighted negatives to remote consultation, such as inflexibility of online formats. Acceptability of remote consultation is context specific and influenced by the purpose of the consultation and individual patient. Remote consultation may reduce anxiety in some patients, but is potentially less acceptable than face-to-face for relational appointments.


Acceptability of remote consultation is context dependent. There is a lack of evidence surrounding patient characteristics and access to remote consultation.

More from our Archive