Texts cut down missed appointments at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals

Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.
Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

When you hear DrDoctor you usually think a bad joke is to follow. But actually it is something Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals is using to help remind patients of upcoming appointments and help them access information.

The service which has already been rolled out at the trust’s ophthalmology, gastroenterology and respiratory services has already sent thousands of texts in the month it have been operational.

The trust operates Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

The system has been so successful that Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s ophthalmology service has seen missed appointments reduce by almost half, with its average ‘did not attend’ rate going from 13.5 percent to just 7 percent.

To help ensure the success of this project, the trust is urging patients to ensure that their contact details are up-to-date by contacting the reception desk of any service they currently use or at their GP practice.

Dr Mike Whiteside, physician and chief clinical information officer at the trust, said: “It is important that we have your most up-to-date contact details. That way the system will be able to send notifications over text or through email and you will be able to respond in turn.”

Nationally, around one in 10 appointments made are missed every year in England.

Unfortunately, the trust is within the top 25 percent of all trusts in the country for patients not attending appointments, recording 50,000 missed each year.

Equating to around £6 million in lost funding annually for the local hospitals, in real-terms this wasted cash is the equivalent of 200 nurses, 747 hip replacements or 22,388 MRI scans.

The trust has now rolled-out DrDoctor in other services including midwifery.