NHS Lanarkshire piloting new text service to help reduce missed appointments

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NHS Lanarkshire is piloting a new text reminder service to help reduce the number of appointments patients miss.

The two-way text service will be tested within two specialties – paediatric orthopaedics and respiratory services, and as well as reminding patients when their appointment is, it will also give them the option of cancelling the appointment if they can no longer attend or do not require an appointment

Heather Knox, director of acute services said: “Every appointment which a patients fails to attend costs the NHS £136 and wastes an appointment which could be used by another patient.

“The two-way text message will be sent three days before your appointment and will also allow you to reply and cancel if you can no longer attend or don’t require the appointment.

“This will hopefully make it much easier for patients to manage their appointments and will help us to make slots available to other patients when an appointment is cancelled.”

The project will run for 12 weeks and will be evaluated to assess the impact on the number of appointments missed and if patients have found it beneficial to receive a reminder with the option to cancel.

If successful the system will be rolled out to other specialties.