Phone reminder service
Patients coming to Warrington and Halton Hospitals for outpatient appointments will receive a reminder phone call in a new campaign to help reduce the number of DNAs – Did Not Attends.
Over 9% of hospital outpatients are missed which costs the hospitals thousands of pounds a day. The telephone reminder service aims to help address this.
A few days before an appointment patients will receive a call from the hospital which will confirm their appointment details. They will be asked to confirm their date of birth on the phone call to maintain patient confidentiality. If a patient no longer needs their appointment you can easily cancel or rearrange it during the call.
The service uses automated telephone calls and agent calls, is very easy to use and is completely free to patients.
The hospital already uses text reminder services and provides an online form on its website to help patients reschedule their appointment if they cannot make it.
Around 1,500 people attend outpatient appointments every day across the hospital sites.
Gordon Robinson, outpatient services manager at the hospitals, explained:
“Our aim is to ensure as many patients as possible receive the care they require. Every year, thousands of appointments are missed. By providing a reminder, we can help those patients who may have forgotten their appointment and also make it easier for patients who wish to cancel or rearrange their appointment to do so.
“The service is completely free of charge to our patients and as missed appointments cost the NHS millions of pounds every year, the cost of the reminders to us is really insignificant compared to the amount of money wasted by through DNAs. During the pilot of the project we monitored calls and in the first few hours five patients who were contacted had forgotten they had an appointment booked and would have missed it otherwise so we think it’s going to have real value in reducing DNA rates.”
Frequently asked questions
Why is the trust offering an appointment reminder service?
Our aim is to ensure as many patients as possible receive the care they require. Every year, thousands of appointments are wasted when patients fail to attend. By providing a reminder, we can help those patients who may have forgotten their appointment and also make it easier for patients who wish to cancel or rearrange their appointment to do so.
How are reminders made?
Reminders are made using automated telephone calls and calls made by call centre staff. Please note that calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes.
What should I do when I am called?
Follow the instructions in the telephone call. You will be asked to confirm your date of birth, please do not be alarmed by this, it is simply to maintain patient confidentiality. You can then press the appropriate button on your telephone to confirm, cancel or rearrange your appointment.
Do the calls cost me anything?
The service is completely free of charge to our patients.
Are the reminders expensive for the trust?
Missed appointments cost the NHS millions of pounds every year. The cost of the reminders is insignificant compared to the amount of money wasted by missed appointments.
When will the reminders take place?
You will be contacted a few days before your appointment.
What if I do not want to be contacted?
We would hope patients would welcome this service; however, if you do not wish to receive a reminder, for any reason please let us know.