New appointment reminder service
A new appointment reminder service is now operating at the Countess of Chester Hospital, giving patients seven days advanced warning prior to their appointments.
Everyone attending clinics will receive a text reminder to a mobile or an automated call to their landline a week before they are due to come to hospital.
Patients will be given the option to confirm, rebook or cancel the appointment if it is no longer needed. This new seven-day window gives the appointments and admin teams at the hospital an opportunity to reallocate empty appointments in the event of a cancellation, potentially reducing waiting times for some patients.
The previous text reminder system was only a one-way process that did not give patients the chance to either rebook or cancel their appointments. Everyone who confirms or does not reply to the original message will also receive a second reminder of the appointment two days before.
On average the Countess loses 800 new and 2,000 follow-up appointments a month to patients who do not attend. With every new appointment costing an average of £160 and follow-ups costing an average of £78, that means missed appointments at the hospital can cost up to £284,000 a month.
Business Performance Manager Diagnostics and Infrastructure Division Helen Nowakowska said: "It is such a waste to all concerned when appointments go unused and with this advanced warning system it gives us the chance to book other patients in if circumstances change, improving the efficiency of the service for everyone.”
With this new system it is important that patients’ contact details at the hospital are kept up to date so people are asked to update their information if necessary the next time they have a GP or hospital appointment. They can also select whether they would rather receive the reminders on a mobile, landline or opt out altogether.
This new service is in addition to the traditional letters which patients will continue to receive in the first instance when they are assigned an appointment.