SMS creates extra appointments for London GPs

Staff at a London doctors’ surgery have highlighted the benefits of SMS after the technology helped them save time and free up appointments for patients.

Dr Nazmul Akunjee and Dr Muhammed Akunjee, from West Green Surgery in Haringey, have been trialling text messaging as a way to give people test results. The doctors have since said the outcome has been encouraging.

After discovering that many patients were booking separate appointments to receive the results of non-urgent blood tests, the GPs looked at alternative ways of passing on information.

Thanks to SMS, anyone who requires a follow-up appointment or prescription can be notified instantly and cheaply. Those who aren’t required to take any further action can also be informed easily. Only 5-10 per cent of test patients went on to book follow-up appointments once the system was rolled out, the doctors claim.

This new scheme has been freeing up an extra 12-15 appointments for other patients every week – equating to 600 appointments per year. West Green Surgery estimates the annual financial savings to be around £10,000, gponline.com reports.

Dr Akunjee thinks the service has been a success, and encourages others in the industry to take similar action. He said: “This process has freed up a lot of appointments, and has very high satisfaction rates from the patients.

“No additional hardware is needed – this is very simple, low-tech, can be done in any practice tomorrow, and would result in improvements to access overnight.”