COVID-19 has placed additional challenges on mental health services. Video consultations (VCs) have provided a short-term solution to lockdown restrictions but could also increase long-term capacity to meet the anticipated rising demand. A total of 7752 VCs were conducted over six weeks. Thematic analysis of 474 online survey responses identified twenty patient attributes that influenced staffs’ decisions to offer VCs. Their opinions were diverse, at times contradictory, and not always evidence based. There was reasonable consensus (and published evidence to support) of the probable suitability of VC for patients who: are IT savvy and suitably equipped; are teenagers; live in remote/rural locations; have caring responsibilities; have anxiety disorders or express a preference. No consensus was reached regarding eight attributes and there was a corresponding paucity of evidence, indicating the need for further research. Conversely, old age; paranoia, sensory impairment/communication difficulties; high risk and trauma/PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) were generally seen as contraindicated by staff, despite published evidence of success elsewhere. It may be possible to overcome staff’s reticence to offer these groups VCs. As staff are effectively the gatekeepers to VC interventions, it is important to understand and support them to overcome reservations that are contrary to the empirical evidence base. This will ensure that their initial anxieties do not become unnecessary barriers to services for those most in need. As with all mental healthcare, such decisions should be made collaboratively, and on an individual basis.
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