Saxilby GP launches new service which allows patients to cancel appointments by text

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In a bid to minimise the amount of missed appointments a Saxilby GP surgery has launched a new text messaging service.

Trent Valley Surgery the new service which allows patients to cancel any unwanted or unneeded GP appointments they may have booked.

It comes as NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group said missed appointments were costing the health system in the region of almost £1.5 million.

Patients at Trent Valley Surgery who are signed up to their text messaging service and no longer require their appointment will be able to text the word “CANCEL” to a dedicated number in order to cancel their slot.

Trent Valley Surgery saw 139 appointments missed in the last three months.

Paula Bacon, practice manager, said: “Our figures show that the highest number of Did Not Attends (DNAs) are for the nursing team, which is likely because a patient can book three months in advance for a nurse.

“This system will give patients the opportunity to cancel their appointment easily, especially those who may be at work.

“Although the average DNA rate is fairly small at this practice, it still has a knock-on effect for the availability of appointments at the surgery.

“This is particularly true in the current challenging climate.

“On average, we lose at least 10 appointments per week to DNAs, which equates to 1 hour and 40 minutes of lost time and appointments. We hope this new system improves this rate.”

Previous research by Lincolnshire West CCG showed one practice losing £3,720 in a single month after patients failed to turn up to their pre-booked GP or nurse appointments. Meanwhile, a practice in Gainsborough had 198 appointments missed in the same period of time.

Sarah-Jane Mills, chief operating officer at NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The system introduced by Trent Valley Surgery is simple to make use of and hopefully very effective.

“I would encourage as many of their patients as possible to sign up to the service and make use of it when needed.”