PATIENTS with diabetes and endocrine conditions across Forth Valley are being urged to take part in phone and video consultations, rather than attending face-to-face checks.

Healthcare professionals are urging people to take advantage of Near Me video appointments with recent increases in the number of coronavirus cases.

Dr Nick Barwell, consultant physician at NHS Forth Valley's department of diabetes and endocrinology, said: "Some of our patients are turning down the offer of Near Me consultations, because they expect things to go back to normal relatively soon.

"But with the recent increase in Covid-19 cases we don't expect that to be the case.

"We have to accept that we are now living in the 'new normal' so the days of a waiting room with people sitting shoulder to shoulder waiting to be called in for their appointment are in the distant past.

"However, it is important to reassure patients that we are still here for them and if we think they do require a face-to-face consultation then an appointment will be made."

The NHS says Near Me video appointments provide the same level of care patients are used to and allow consultation to take place from the comfort of the home or workplace, without the need to travel.

The system also enables staff to care for a greater number of patients.

In many cases, taking advantage of Near Me can mean that people will access support and advice more quickly.

Near Me can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or a computer with a webcam.