Patients at Whipps Cross Hospital will be given the choice to speak with their doctor over Skype, after a pilot scheme cut the number of missed appointments by more than half.

Barts Health NHS Trust introduced the online appointments this month for rheumatology patients at the hospital in Leytonstone and is looking to roll the scheme out across all clinics over the next few months.

The Trust hopes people will embrace the new option after the number of missed diabetes appointments at Newham Hospital was cut from 30-50 per cent to 11-13 per cent after Skype was introduced.

Katherine Chalkley, 28, of Walthamstow has been a patient at the hospital for the last three years.

She said: “I don’t feel like it’s necessary to come into the hospital to see the rheumatology team for every appointment so it’s great that there’s the option to have an appointment via Skype.

“I used my mobile phone for the appointment at home but I would definitely consider doing it from work in future.”

Last year the Health Foundation awarded Barts £3.5 million from its Scaling Up improvement programme to take Newham’s successful scheme to hospitals across the UK.

Approximately 700 patients with rheumatological condition Ankylosing Spondylitis attend the clinic at Whipps and because many are young they are oftenforced to take time off work to attend appointments.

Becky Adshead, Specialist Physiotherapist at Whipps Cross Hospital, said: “We need to think outside the box and embrace technology in how we help our patients. By using Skype we can offer our patients the same high quality care but which will now fit much easier with their lifestyle.

“We hope this will reduce the number of appointments people are forced to cancel and improve their overall experience.”