Appointment reminder service
A new text messaging service is going live at the end of February 2023 to help remind outpatients about their appointments.
Every year, thousands of patients accidently miss their hospital appointment simply because they forget when it is.
We appreciate how busy people are and how easy it can be to forget an appointment or mislay an appointment card. However, patients not attending their appointments has a negative impact on the service the Trust provides.
Each missed appointment costs the hospital money in terms of the time our medical staff waste, £160 for each appointment, but more importantly, it means that the slot cannot be offered to another patient.
It’s been shown that sending appointment reminders can significantly reduce the number of missed appointments, so where appropriate, from February, we will be sending text reminders to many of our patients, reminding them of their outpatient appointment.
Through our new text reminder service, not only do patients get notified of their upcoming appointment, but it also offers them the opportunity to cancel or rearrange, if required, by simply replying. This will help us to see more patients, more quickly. It’s also a quick and easy way for our patients to manage their appointments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
If we hold a mobile number for you, an initial text reminder will be sent out seven days prior to your appointment, and then a final reminder sent again 48 hours before the appointment.
If you need to re-book an appointment, you need to respond ‘REBOOK’ and an alternative appointment time will be offered.
You will also be able to ‘CANCEL’ your appointment by replying to the initial text. Again, please note, on receipt of your cancellation instruction, your care may be transferred back to your GP, and you may not receive another appointment.
Can I opt out?
Yes - if you do not wish to receive a text message reminder, you can opt of the service. You can do this by simply texting STOP to any reminder you receive.
If you opt out of receiving text reminder messages, your telephone number will be excluded from this process. Please bear this in mind if you are the contact for your children, friends, or relatives, as you will also be excluded from receiving messages for their appointments.
I have previously opted out of the service, but now which to opt back in - can I do that?
Yes. Either speak to a member of the reception team or call our Contact Centre on 01904 726400 and request to be opted back into the service.
Are all clinics included?
We are planning to undertake a phased introduction of the new reminder service, and therefore, not all clinics will be included initially. Some groups of patients will be exempt and will not receive a reminder.
I need to update my contact details with you. How do I do that?
Contact our call the Contact Centre on 01904 726400, which is open from 8am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.
I have more than one appointment over the coming few days/weeks. Will I receive more than one reminder?
Yes, we will send two electronic reminders per appointment, at seven and two days before your appointment date.
Will the text messages be private?
Your contact details allow us to contact you about appointment bookings, appointment cancellations or to remind you of your forthcoming appointments.
The contact information we store will only be used by us in relation to hospital business and we will not pass on your information to any other party other than the third-party company used to deliver our appointment reminder service, who are also obliged to keep your information secure and used only for that purpose.
How much will a text cost me?
It's free to receive the text message, however if you choose to respond you will be charged at your standard rates.
How do I know the message I have received is from the NHS?
Seven days before your appointment, you'll receive a text from a UK mobile number. This message will begin with 'NHSAppt'.
48 hours before your appointment, you'll receive a reminder from 'NHS No Reply'. This message will also begin with 'NHSAppt'.
The NHS would never require payment or ask you to provide personal details by responding to a text.
If you receive a message you are concerned about, do not reply or click on any links. If you need to check about an appointment, you should contact the telephone number on your appointment letter.
Below are two examples of text message reminders from our Trust.