A timely reminder to sign up for free text service at hospitals

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has identified that even more patients could benefit from its text reminder service.

Since 2009, outpatients have been able to get free reminders of their appointment time by text.

Text reminders are now standard practice for appointments at everything from hairdressers to garages. By giving the hospital your mobile number when you book an appointment or receive your confirmation letter, you can get handy reminders of your appointment date and time.

Patients using the service are also able to cancel their appointments by text if they no longer need them. In November 2015, approximately 25,000 texts were sent out to patients.

Almost 45% of patients who visited University Hospital or the Hospital of St Cross in November and December had signed up for the Trust’s free text reminder service.

However, with 93% of UK adults now owning and using a mobile phone[1], UHCW is encouraging even more patients to sign up.

As well as being more convenient for patients, the text reminder service has reduced rates of non-attendance since it was first set up.

Before the text reminder service was introduced, the proportion of outpatients who did not attend was 9.9%, compared to 7.6% in November 2015 (4,342 outpatients did not attend their appointments in November 2015).

Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer at UHCW, said: “We’d encourage all our patients to sign up for the service as it’s a free, quick and easy reminder. It’s also great that the use of text reminders has been helping us to reduce the number of patients not attending appointments at University Hospital and the Hospital of St Cross.

“Every missed appointment costs the NHS money, and more importantly could be used to help another patient. We know that most people don’t intend to miss appointments, so the text reminder service helps both patients and our staff.

“It’s really important that people help the NHS by cancelling any appointments that they can’t attend or no longer need.”

It's easy to set up, just inform any of our receptionists or call the Booking Centre on 0800 252060.

[1] OfCom (Q1, 2015)