Hospitals use texts to minimise missed appointments

Three hospitals in the North will use text message reminders in a bid to drive down the number of missed appointments.

Goole, Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals are set to use text reminders for all outpatient appointments, starting from September 1. These messages will be available to everyone, but patients will need to opt-in at reception in order to be included.

The North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust took the move after noting a high number of non-attendees for appointments. As missed appointments are a huge financial drain, but wholly preventable, the Trust sought a way of ensuring that bookings don’t slip their patients’ minds. Texts was eventually settled upon as the tool of choice.

Nationwide, the number of hospital appointments that are missed is around ten per cent, reports.

It is hoped the scheme will both jog patients’ memories and ensure they make the appointment or prompt them to call and cancel it if something else has come up. That way, recently-vacated slots could be offered to other patients, thus maximising efficiency and driving down waiting times.

Commenting, interim general manager at the Trust Karen Wilson told “We are really excited to be able to launch this service.

“We have a lot of patients who don’t turn up for their appointments, often simply because they have forgotten, which is a waste of NHS resources. We hope patients choose to use the service and in turn that we will see a reduction in the number of DNAs [did not attend] in our hospitals.”