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New 0800 appointment reminder service for Lanarkshire patients

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:33 GMT on Thursday, May, 16th, 2013.

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CUMBERNAULD as well as Lanarkshire-wide patients are set to benefit from a new reminder service for outpatient clinics.

John Duncan, Head of Health Records in NHS Lanarkshire explained: “Sometimes appointments are made weeks or months in advance and we know that a patient’s circumstances can change in that time.”

The new outpatient system will see patients receiving an automated telephone message seven days in advance of their appointment; a message which will be sent from a 0800 number to either a patient’s landline or mobile phone.

When a patient receives a call from the reminder service they will be required to verify their name and year of birth in order to confirm their identity. After security confirmation, patients will then be given the option of confirming their attendance or cancelling their appointment, with a cancellation request seeing the patient directed to a call handler, and if this is done out with normal working hours then patients will be called back, as soon as practicable. 

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Patient appointment letters have also been revised to include information on this Reminder Service.

“The new system is a real benefit to patients not just because it can remind you of the time of your appointment but because it also allows you to cancel your appointment if it is no longer suitable,” Mr Duncan added.

Currently the reminder service is being used within seven different specialities – orthoptics, dermatology, dermatology lesion assessment, gynaecology, ophthalmology, diabetes and urology. And, appointment letters for these specialties also give patients information on how to “opt out” of reminder service, if required. 

A similar patient reminder service is also being used for physiotherapy’s musculo-skeletal services, in a practice whereby patients receive a reminder two days before their appointment. However, the reminder service will roll out across other departments over the course of the year.

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