Phone consultations

Phone consultation or video consultation?

'Telehealth' consultations can be by video or by phone.  The GP Colleges, Medical Defence Organisations, and Medicare recommend video in preference to phone.  

Telephone consultations are only eligible for a Medicare benefit (or rebate) if video is 'unavailable'.

Dr Baird prefers video to phone for consultations with patients for the following reasons:

How to arrange a phone consultation

Checks before, during, and at the end of the consultation

Pre-consultation check.  I will:

During the consultation, I will:

At the end of the consultation, I will:

When is a phone consultation appropriate?

When is a phone consultation not appropriate?

Ensure that the consultation will be appropriate for a phone consultation. 

Do not arrange a phone consultation for any of the following problems:  

In any of the above situations, call 000 for an ambulance.  

Here are some examples of appropriate reasons for a phone consultation (this list is not exclusive): 

If you are unsure if your health issue is appropriate for a phone consultation, please phone the receptionist at St Kilda Medical Group (9525 5200).  If you have the symptoms of an emergency, your call will be put through to Dr Baird immediately.  This applies when Dr Baird is at St Kilda Medical Group.  At other times, calls of an urgent nature will be put through to one of the other GPs.   For non-urgent issues, a message will be left for Dr Baird's attention when he next attends St Kilda Medical Group.

Items to bring to a phone consultation (if available)


Items to bring to a phone consultation (if available)

Pen and paper

Medications (in their packs or containers)


Tape measure


Scales (to check your weight)

Blood pressure monitor

Blood glucose machine


Smartwatch (if it does physical measurements, eg pulse rate)

Can I record a phone consultation or a video consultation?

Yes, you can, however, Dr Baird asks that you do not record your video consultation or your phone consultation.

The consultation is a private conversation.  

Recording a private conversation without both persons' consent is illegal.

Dr Baird does not consent to recording of the consultation.

This is standard practice for medical consultations.

This is to avoid the potential risk of a recorded consultation being used in an unauthorised way: for example, if the recording is played/shown to someone else, if the recording is posted to social media, or if the original recording is altered in some way. 


Phone consultations:  advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of phone consultations:  

 The disadvantages of phone consultations: 

No non-verbal cues or non-verbal feedback

No facial expression

No physical assessment (appearance etc)

Privacy and video and phone consultations

St Kilda Medical Group’s Privacy Policy applies to telehealth video and phone consultations.  All other Practice Policies that pertain to in-person consultations at the Clinic also apply to telehealth video and phone consultations.