Our patient appointment reminder system
One in 10 NHS appointments are missed every year. Missed appointments affect patient care and waste NHS resources.
We are launching an appointment reminder system so people who use our mental health, learning disability and child and adolescent mental health services can receive an automated call or text message to remind them of their appointment.
By using an appointment reminder system, we’ll be able to notify you of your upcoming appointments and give you the opportunity to cancel or rearrange if you can’t make the time or date you’ve been given. This will help us to see people quicker. We will also be able to contact you – for example if we have to cancel an appointment, if an appointment becomes available at short notice, or to collect your experience and the outcome of the care you receive.
How will it work?
You’ll get a text message, recorded voice message or phone call to remind you of your upcoming appointment. You can choose how you’d like to be reminded. Messages can also be sent to parents/guardians or carers if you’d prefer.
If you’ve chosen to receive a text reminder, you’ll get two messages to remind you of your appointment. The first reminder will be sent seven days before an appointment. The text will also offer the option to cancel or rearrange the appointment. A second reminder will be sent 24 hours before an appointment.
If you have chosen to receive a recorded voice message or phone call, you’ll be contacted on the number of your choice seven days before your appointment. You’ll also have the option to cancel or rearrange the appointment.
What is the difference between text, recorded voice message and phone call?
You’ll be able to choose whether you get a text, recorded voice message or phone call (known as an agent call) reminder.
Text messages have been shown to be the most effective as you can keep the information stored on your phone. Typically, the messages sent seven days before your appointment will tell you how to rebook or cancel an appointment if you can’t make the date given. The messages sent 24 hours before your appointment are one way only and won’t allow you to reply.
A recorded voice message is a message sent to a number to remind you of an appointment. The message will give instructions on how to confirm, cancel or rebook an appointment.
If you don’t want to receive a recorded voice message, or if the message is not completed (for example if you hang up or don’t interact) you’ll get a call from an agent at the appointment reminder service company. The agent isn’t employed by the Trust and won’t directly be able to change your appointment, but will transfer the call if needed to an appropriate member of our staff.
Can someone else receive the reminder for me?
An appointment reminder can be sent to a parent/guardian or carer as long as the numbers have been recorded on the system. You’ll just need to let us know who it’s going to so we can tailor the message to them.
Can I opt out?
If you don’t want to receive appointment reminders you’ll be able to opt out of the service at any time. You can reply with ‘STOP’ to any text reminder you receive, select the ‘STOP’ option on a touchtone phone, complete an opt out form or let a member of clinical staff know. Choosing to opt-out will not impact on your treatment or care in any way.
Will I have to pay for the service?
There is no cost for receiving a text or telephone message. However if you choose to respond (e.g. to cancel or rebook) you will be charged standard telephone line or mobile phone rates by your provider.
What do I need to do?
We’ll contact you before the system goes live to ask how you want to be notified of appointments and to make sure we have the correct contact details for you. We will also routinely check if you received your reminder or need to update any contact details when you come for your appointment. Please notify us if you change your telephone number or want to change who the appointment reminder is sent to.
For more information, speak to your care co-ordinator.