Leicester hospitals making good use of text messaging

Hospitals throughout Leicester have begun texting patients to remind them of upcoming appointments, thisisleicestershire.co.uk reports.

The scheme was created in a bid to reduce the number of missed appointments throughout Leicestershire, which totalled over 70,000 from April 2011 – March 2012.

Over 90 per cent of people throughout the area are now receiving these messages, according to the project manager for the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Obrad Sudar. He explained: “We are beginning to see an impact. Previously, just over nine per cent of people did not attend their appointments but in October and November we have seen this figure fall to just over eight per cent, so it is working.

“We send out a simple message telling people their appointment time, which hospital and to contact us if they are not going to be able to make it.”

Sudar hopes that increasingly, after receiving the reminder text, patients will notify their local clinic in advance if they can’t make an appointment. That way, others who need appointments can be allocated these slots. This could be particularly useful with regards to appointments made many months in advance, as Sudar confirmed that the further ahead in time an appointment is made, the more likely patients are to forget.

The NHS is making use of text messaging in other areas, too, having recently rolled out a stop-smoking campaign throughout Leicester. Residents throughout the area can send a text to a specific number to ask for further information on the local NHS smoking cessations services – which is something the NHS’ director for public health in the Midlands and the East, David Walker, is keen to encourage.

He told Shropshirelive.com: “Stopping smoking is the single best change you can make to improve your health and the New Year is a great time to make positive changes.”