Why I don’t intend to follow the Doctor model for consultations

Why, as a Naturopath, I don’t intend to follow the proposed Doctor model and choose telephone consultations over face to face meetings

Why face to face naturopathic consultations provide so much more valuable information that is not possible by phone or even by Zoom.


On 30th July 2020 Matt Hancock, the current UK Health Secretary, told a meeting at the Royal College of Physicians: “From now on, all consultations should be tele-consultations unless there’s a compelling clinical reason not to”.

He went on to say that the NHS “must not fall back into bad habits” and “we cannot and will not revert back to before”, saying there needed to be a shift towards “Zoom medicine” (reported by BBC News).

Following “lockdown”, only 10% of GP appointments are face to face with the majority by phone and just 4% by online video. Before the pandemic 75% of GP appointments were face to face.

Surely this is a good thing?

There are positives to remote consultations. After all, it makes better use of people’s time; increases flexibility and possibly appointment numbers per day. And less travel time helps the environment.

Why may this new model be unsuitable for GP appointments?

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said telephone consulting posed a challenge for GPs at times, partly because of the lack of visual cues that are often used to make diagnoses and particularly when patients have complex health needs.

How does remote working impact my consultancy practice?

Zoom has been a life saver during the Pandemic, there is no doubt about that. I have been able to offer clients with ongoing health concerns (either at the start or in the middle of a Package of Care) continuity of support. I know my clients are extremely grateful that I have been there to support them.

To start with I thought Zoom was brilliant for those reasons. But as time went on I realized how much I missed seeing clients face to face in clinic. The quality of the Zoom connections has actually been very good but the visual picture is not always great. It depends on the lighting and client’s own broadband bandwidth. So often I am seeing clients in shadows. And I, too, often appear to be in the dark (so to speak).

What happens at a face to face consultation?

The real impact for me comes at the initial client consultation. The in-depth case history gathering and naturopathic assessment that I include with all clients. As a naturopath I am looking at clients holistically. They may visit with a main symptom of a headache, but my recommendations may point to digestive support (for example). Clients are aware that I look at their nails, their tongue and use a special camera to take a picture of their irides (Iridology). This provides very important information to me as it helps me make an assessment when looking for root causes to symptoms.

I explain all this on my website:

Clients may be less aware that when clients first visit I am looking at their overall disposition, their pallor, the way they stand, their body language (do they clasp their hands or turn themselves inwards). Do they slump and have poor posture? Incorrect spinal alignment can impact on nerve impulses to vital organs. Is their breathing really shallow? This can effect the intake of oxygen and expellation of carbon dioxide. Do they seem tense or nervous or stressed?

I appreciate that GP time with clients is limited but as Prof Martin Marshall explains, visual clues are a vital part of the diagnosis.

As a Naturopath I have the luxury to offer 90 minute consultations with clients. This time is required to gather all the visual information I describe above, as well as the in-depth case history taking and offering therapeutic recommendations.

For follow-up consultations I find there is less need to see clients face to face. But even then I can more easily see the changes to clients based on all the vital clues I mention above.

Going forward…..

I intend to offer options for Zoom or face to face for my clients going forward. But I am very keen to get back to my practice and sit down — socially distanced of course and following all the procedures- opposite my clients and observe everything they have to tell me, both orally and visually.

Book an Appointment

you can book a free 15 minute consultation with me simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, call me direct on 07730 513303 or email caroline@peytonprinciples.com.

Thanks for reading.  Keep your eye out for more articles and Peyton Principles in the media.


Caroline Peyton

A little more about me…

Providing expert, personalised, health advice utilising 10 years of nutritional therapy and naturopathy experience with a strong emphasis on digestion and gut health. Zoom or face to face Consultations.

Develop and deliver wellbeing in the workplace workshops.

Helping people live happier, healthier more active lives.

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