NHS Tayside has introduced a new outpatient text reminder system to help patients remember their appointment details and reduce the number of missed appointments.
Every week, over 1000 people miss their hospital appointment in NHS Tayside. Each missed appointment costs NHS Tayside £151, delays treatment and increases waiting times for all patients.
The new automated service, which was introduced on Monday, 30 July, sends text reminders to patients over the age of 16 with a mobile number recorded in the patient management system.
The text is sent from “NHS-NoReply”, giving details of the day, date, time and location of the appointment and encouraging patients to contact their outpatient department if they can no longer attend.
The new service is now available in the majority of outpatient areas across Tayside. Information will be provided on appointment letters explaining how patients can opt out of the reminder service.
Dr Robin Smith, Associate Medical Director for Medicine, said, “Text messages are a really common way of reminding people about appointments in their everyday lives and we want to take advantage of this across our outpatient clinics. People not turning up for their appointments, often because they have just forgotten, is a real issue for us and the text reminders are one of the ways in which we are tackling the numbers of “Did Not Attends” (DNAs) recorded in Tayside.
“We would urge people to get in contact with us as early as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment for any reason. This allows us to rearrange a more suitable date and time for them and give the original appointment to someone else. This helps us reduce the number of wasted appointments and means we can make the best use of all of our precious NHS resources.
“It would also be really helpful for us if people can make sure they keep their GP up-to-date with their correct phone number and address details.”