Patient reminder system could save local NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds

Whiston Hospital 'Ann Marr chief executive  St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust outside the new premises.
Whiston Hospital 'Ann Marr chief executive St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust outside the new premises.

Health chiefs are launching a new reminder system to help patients remember their hospital appointments.

The new service will contact patients of Whiston and St Helens hospitals to confirm the date and time of their next appointment, and whether they will be able to attend.

Ann Marr, chief executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, hopes the new reminder service will reduce the number of missed appointments, help patients to be seen quicker and save the taxpayer millions.

“We are always looking for ways to further improve the experience of our patients and the new call reminder system will help to make our services even more efficient,” she said.

“It is really important that patients let us know if they cannot attend the hospital.

“Their appointment can be rearranged and another patient on the waiting list can benefit from the free space. This allows us to maximise the time of our doctors and nurses to the fullest.”

NHS figures suggest more than 6.9 million outpatient appointments are missed each year, causing serious delays in treatment to other patients, and costing over £100 per appointment.

The NHS launched a series of simple initiatives – such as sending email and text reminders – in 2008 to tackle the problem of missed appointments.

This saw the rate of appointments not attended fall from 10.5 per cent in 2008/9 to 9.1 per cent by 2014, and it is hoped that the new measures will reduce this figure further.