NHS Tayside introduces patient reminder system

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NHS Tayside has introduced a new automated patient reminder service to help reduce the number of missed outpatient appointments.

In 2015 there were 159,000 missed appointments in NHS Tayside which is 11.4 per cent of the total number of appointments arranged.

The cost of an appointment will vary depending on the type of outpatient clinic being accessed and the individual patient requirements, but NHS Scotland estimates that each missed appointment costs the NHS approximately £120.

The new automated service will call patients to remind them of the date, time and venue of their outpatient appointment and give them the opportunity to cancel or reschedule if necessary. Patients should be aware that when a call is sent it will come from a 0800 number so if they receive one of these calls it may be in relation to an appointment.

Reducing the Did Not Attend (DNA) rate is part of NHS Tayside’s new ‘Value Your NHS’ campaign which encourages patients, carers, staff and the general public to make the best use of the services we provide to ensure we can continue to deliver person-centred, safe and effective treatment and care into the future.

Dr Gavin Main, Associate Medical Director for Access with NHS Tayside, said: “We would urge people to contact us as soon as possible if, for any reason, they are unable to attend hospital appointments or outpatient clinics. This allows us to reduce wasted appointments by giving someone else the original appointment, and rearranging a more suitable date and time for patients.

“People should also make sure that they keep their GP up-to-date with their correct phone number and address details.”

This new service is one of a number of initiatives NHS Tayside has put in place to reduce the DNA rate.

The Renal Department has had an automated telephone reminder service for a number of years and the new patient reminder service is being rolled out across Tayside following a successful trial within Dundee Dental Hospital and Tayside Substance Misuse Service.