New reminder service for elective procedures
Patients undergoing planned procedures at the Countess of Chester Hospital will now receive reminder messages 10 days before their appointments.
Text reminders to mobiles or an automated call to landlines will give patients the chance to either cancel/rebook if circumstances have changed, or confirm if they are still planning to attend.
A similar service was recently launched for people attending outpatients clinics at the hospital, replacing the previous ‘one-way system’ that didn’t provide the options of rebooking or cancelling.
It is hoped that rolling this out for patients undergoing elective procedures will increase efficiencies in theatres by creating an opportunity to reallocate empty slots, potentially reducing waiting times for some patients.
The second message, which will be sent two days before the appointment, then acts as one-way reminder closer to the time they are due in hospital.
Joe Downie, Divisional Director for Planned Care said: "It is important our patients are seen and have their procedure as quickly as possible. This new system will allow our patients to communicate back with us if they are unable to attend meaning we can allocate their Theatre time to someone else who is waiting. This further allows the NHS to utilise its resources effectively”
Dr Darren Kilroy, Divisional Medical Director for Planned Care and Clinical Variation, added: “When the hospital is extremely busy appointments for elective procedures can unfortunately be changed or cancelled to provide the safe, kind and effective levels of care needed by other patients who are more acutely unwell. With this in mind it is especially important that our theatres are able to run as efficiently as possible to reduce waiting times for patients needing surgical procedures. This text reminder service will help to reassure our patients that we are attentive to their upcoming surgery, whilst also giving us better control of missed appointments that could have been used to expedite the care of other people.”
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 a procedure date.