A text message reminder service set up to tackle high levels of non-attendance at hospital appointments has seen wasted appointments nearly halved.
The service was piloted at Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole hospitals for ophthalmology and ENT (ear, nose and throat) appointments.
Since the service was introduced in April the number of patients failing to turn up for their appointment has reduced by 44 per cent.
Before the pilot an average of 112 patients per week were being classed as ‘did not attend’ for their appointment. After the pilot this dropped to 68 per week.
Staff were also able to re-book an additional 44 appointments per week because people were getting in touch to say they couldn’t make their appointments rather than just not turning up, giving staff time to offer the slot to someone else.
Nick Goodall, improvement delivery facilitator, said: “This service has proved to be a simple but effective way of reducing wasted appointments in our outpatient departments. By reminding patients of their appointments we have not only prevented patients from missing them, but we’ve also been able to offer slots to other patients because people have given us notice when they can’t make it.”
The text message reminder service is now being rolled out to all specialties within outpatients. From now on people will automatically be opted into the service.
The service sends patients two texts, one seven days before the appointment and one two days before. The text reminds them the date and time of the appointment, the speciality it is with and the hospital site to attend.
Patients wishing to opt out should call (01724) 387838 for Scunthorpe and Goole and (01472) 302533 for Grimsby.
They are also asked to make sure the hospital has their up-to-date mobile number either at their next appointment or by going online and updating their details here:
Patients who can’t make their appointment and want to cancel can do so online here: Click here