My wife and I both have medical conditions that various consultants like to periodically review, and as a consequence we spend many hours each year sitting in clinical waiting rooms, to be seen by a specialist only to be asked "How are You" and "Are you still taking the medication" and then told, "well there's no change and we'll see you again in 3 month" All of which could have been achieved with a phone call, rather than having to spend a whole morning or afternoon traveling 50 miles, spending out on fuel, finding parking spaces parking and facing idiots on city roads cutting you up.
I am a member of a Patient Participation Group, at our local GP surgery, and as such we get to see and hear about the the issues and solutions the surgery faces and we help to inform the practice of the patients perspective using survey's of how the surgery is run. Whilst there are certain standards imposed by the Gov't, each practice has to decide how best they can meet those standards, which is why you can find a range of approaches to the same issue in at different surgeries.
When we looked at the statistics (no personal data) for the types of of conditions that GP's have requests for appointments, a large percentage are for conditions that don't need to be seen in person, and could be very satisfactorily managed by a telephone call. The enforced restrictions on face to face consultations during the Covid lockdowns showed this can work. But there are also case were the GP is unable to make firm diagnosis over the phone, and so the patient would be asked to come into the surgery for a more detailed discussion or examination.
From the Patients perspective, especially if they are working, it means they don't need to have so much time off work for a simple consultation, in fact they might still be at work to take the call.
Its a scheme that can work to everyone's advantage, But sadly there have been a few cases where a more serious condition has not been identified over the phone, and the patient has deteriorated. It is not a foregone conclusion if the patient had been physically examined by the GP the condition would have been identified, but a well trained GP will pick up a lot of clues just from seeing the patient come through the door, and obviously a voice only phone call does not facilitate this aspect of clerking.
No health service is perfect, and there is always room for improvement.