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Outpatient appointment text reminder service

Every year, thousands of patients accidently miss their hospital appointments simply because they forget when it is.

We appreciate how busy people are and so it can easy to forgot an appointment or mislay an appointment card; however patients’ not attending their appointments does negatively impact on the service the Trust provides.

Each missed appointment costs the hospital money in terms of the time the medical staff waste, but more importantly, it means that the slot cannot be offered to another patient.

It has been shown that sending appointment reminders does significantly reduce the number of missed appointments; therefore where appropriate the Trust will send a text to patients reminding them of their outpatient appointments.

Appointment Text Reminder Service – Important Information

  • It is a FREE service, you will not be charged for receiving or replying to appointment reminders
  • If you have given your mobile number to any NHS Healthcare provider, we will accept this as implied consent that you agree for the Trust to use this number to contact you regarding your hospital appointments
  • Patients do have the option of opting out of the text reminder service, either by notifying a member of the clinic reception team or replying ‘STOP’ upon receipt of a text reminder. Please note, by opting out you will not receive reminders for any hospital appointments.
  • An initial reminder is sent out seven days prior to the appointment, and then a final reminder sent again 48 hours before the appointment
  • If you need to re-book an appointment please contact the clinic using the number provided in your appointment letter or in the body of the text reminder.
  • Patients are also able to change or cancel their appointment by clicking on the following link http://www.derbyhospitals.nhs.uk/contact-us/cancel-or-change-your-clinic
  • By notifying the Trust of a cancellation / rebooking we are able to re-use the appointment slot that would otherwise have been wasted, which in turn will reduce patient waiting times
  • If you have recently changed any of your contact details please ensure that you notify your GP or a member of the reception team here at the hospital.
  • Please note, the Trust may also use your mobile number to request feedback of your experiences using our services. This is in line with the national Friends & Family Test requirements, further details available here - https://www.derbyhospitals.nhs.uk/about/latest-news/latest-news-archive/new-nhs-friends-and-family-test-to-improve-patient-experience/


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a text message?

This is a short message sent to your mobile phone detailing the date, time and location of your appointment. It will also provide details of how to cancel or rebook your appointment.

Who will receive messages? 

We aim to be able to send an electronic reminder to as many patients as possible. If you have given your mobile number to any NHS Healthcare provider we will accept this as implied consent for the Trust to use this number to contact you regarding your appointments.

I don't wish to receive text reminders. How do I opt out of this service?

All patients have the right to opt out of the text reminder service. To do so either speak to a member of the clinic reception team or reply 'STOP' to the initial appointment reminder you receive.

I have previously opted out of the text reminder service but now I wish to opt back in. How do I do this?

Speak to a member of the clinic reception team and request to be opted back into the service.

Does the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust send the message to me or is from another company on your behalf?

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has engaged with a third party company to provide the service. 

How can I be sure that it is a confidential service?

The service operates via a secure NHS approved connection between us and the third party company (Healthcare Communications). No patient details (name, address, hospital number, gender), extend beyond these points. The third party company do not have access to view your information, as it is stored on a secure server. It is impossible for you to be identified from the message.

I am the parent/carer of a vulnerable child/adult – will I get a message?  Can someone else receive my reminders for me?

If you are a parent, guardian or carer and we have your contact details on the patient’s electronic file, we will send the message to you.  If the child/adult has their own contact details, we will send the message directly to them. 

If you would like to update the contact information for the person you care for, please inform the receptionist at your next appointment. 

I need to update my contact details with you.  How do I do that?

We kindly ask that you notify the Trust of any changes to your contact details. Please speak to a member of the hospital clinic reception team, either in person or over the phone. Alternatively, you can notify your GP who will update your records on the national database.

I have received a text reminder and want to change my appointment to another date.  Do I need to do anything?

Yes, we would ask that you phone the appropriate department’s phone number (provided in the text reminder) and discuss this with one of the reception staff.

I have received a text reminder and want to cancel my appointment.  Do I need to do anything?

Yes, we would ask that you phone the appropriate department’s phone number (provided in the text reminder) or notify them of the cancelation or you reply 'CANCEL' to the initial text reminder received for that specific appointment. Please note, if you reply 'CANCEL' we will not attempt rebook your appointment and you will be referred back to your GP.

Does it matter if I cancel or change my appointment?

We would ask you to try to attend your allocated appointment, but we do realise that this is not always possible.  If you cannot avoid changing or cancelling your appointment, please remember that two missed appointments without due notice, we may discharge you back to your referring clinician (GP, other consultant, dentist).

I have more than one appointment over the next few days / weeks.  Will I receive more than one electronic reminder?

Yes, we will send one electronic reminder per appointment you have (so long as the department is participating in the service).