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Outpatient appointment reminder service

Every year, thousands of patients miss their hospital appointments because they forget when they are.

It has been shown that text message and automated call message reminders significantly helps patients remember their appointments, and reduces the number of missed appointments.

Each missed appointment costs the NHS money, delays treatment and increases waiting times for all patients.

Our new service

To help patients remember their appointment details we have introduced an appointment reminder system.  Patients will receive either a text message reminder or an automated call message reminder depending on what contact details they have registered with the hospital.  Patients with a mobile number registered will receive a text message reminder and patients with a landline number but no mobile number registered will receive an automated call message reminder.

If you have any queries about the service please email: appointmentreminderqueries@uhbristol.nhs.uk

Text reminders - for patients with a mobile number registered with the hospital 

You will receive two text messages to remind you of your appointment

Your first reminder will arrive seven days before your appointment and the second will arrive 24 hours before your appointment

You may be given options to cancel and rebook your appointment

You can opt out of the reminder service at any point

Automated call reminders - for patients with no mobile number registered with the hospital  

You will receive an automated call to remind you of your appointment

Your reminder will happen seven days before your appointment

You may be given options to cancel and rebook your appointment

You can opt out of the service at any point

If you have any queries about the service please email: appointmentreminderqueries@uhbristol.nhs.uk

Frequently asked questions

What will the text or automated call reminder message contain?

Each departmental reminder may be slightly different, however all reminders will inform you of the date and time of your appointment and hospital site you are visiting.

You will need to refer to your appointment letter for the specialty of the appointment and the exact clinic location.

Will all outpatient appointments at the Trust be covered by this new service?

The majority of departments will be included; however some have decided to opt out of the service because of the nature of the service.

I don't have a mobile phone. Will I still get a reminder message?

Yes you will receive the automated call reminder message instead of a text.  If you would prefer to receive a text reminder message please update your mobile number details when you next contact the hospital.

Does University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust send the reminder to me or is from another company on your behalf?

The 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?

Please contact the appropriate department via the telephone number on your appointment letter. Alternatively, let us know the next time you visit the hospital.

I don't want to receive a reminder message. What do I do?

If you do not wish to receive a reminder message about your appointment, please inform the receptionist at your next appointment who will make the necessary changes on our patient administration system or email appointmentreminderqueries@uhbristol.nhs.uk

Can a patient select whether they receive a Call Reminder or SMS Reminder?

No. If a patient has a mobile phone number recorded on Medway they will receive a SMS reminder. Call reminders are the 2nd option for contacting patients.

Will the Call Reminder leave a message for the Patient?

No. The Appointment Reminder system does not leave messages.

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

Yes.

For text reminders:

Yes. The reminder will either provide you with a number to ring to change your appointment or alternatively it will ask you to text a reply saying 'CHANGE' to a specific number given in the text. A member of our staff will then contact you to rearrange your appointment.

For automated call reminders:

You will be given options during the reminder that will enable you to speak to a member of staff to rearrange your appointment or to request a call back from staff to rearrange it at a later point

Will I still receive my reminder letter for my clinic appointment?

Yes. We will continue to send paper appointment letters.

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 after two cancellations, or two missed appointments without due reason, 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 reminder message?

Yes. You will receive a reminder message(s) for each appointment (so long as the department is participating in the service).

Where can I find out more information about this service?

To find out more about this service please email appointmentreminderqueries@uhbristol.nhs.uk