Txt msgs sent to cut number of missed appointments

HEALTH bosses are currently assessing the effectiveness of a text messaging reminder service designed to dramatically cut the number of missed appointments.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been piloting a new SMS text messaging reminder service for outpatient appointments.

Each year, hundreds of service users miss their appointments simply because they forget when it is and, on average, each missed appointment costs the trust £160.

Text reminders have been tested by other NHS organisations around the country and have been proven to substantially reduce the number of missed appointments.

Trust business manager for general adult mental health services, Martin Vokes, said: “Sending out text reminders has proven to be a great way of reducing the number of missed appointments for other NHS organisations.

“Reducing the number of missed appointments can reduce service user waiting times as cancelled appointments can be reallocated to others.

“By reducing the number of missed appointments, waiting times for appointments can be reduced too, as cancelled appointments can be reallocated to others.”

The service is currently being tested with two areas of service and will be evaluated in March before a trust-wide roll-out is agreed.