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Missed appointments cost Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust £4million

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Patients failing to turn up for their appointments has cost a hospital trust £4 million.

During the last financial year (2015/16) 315,259 people attended Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for their outpatient appointments but 27,644 failed to show.

These missed appointments cost the trust a staggering £4,146,600.

To help stop the waste and cut waiting times, the hospital is now on a mission to remind patients about a free text messaging service.

Do you need to text while in the cinema? Picture: iStock.com
Do you need to text while in the cinema? Picture: iStock.com

Sue Cartwright, waiting list manager at the trust said: “Our text message service lets them know when their next appointment is due.

“It’s instant, personal and most people carry their phone with them at all times. A text reminder is sent seven days and two days before each appointment.”

At the moment, only one in five patients have a mobile number registered on the trust’s system and benefit from the service.

Of those, some are incorrect numbers, so patients are being asked to check if they are not receiving the all-important reminders.

Patients can speak to a receptionist when they next attend outpatients or ring the appointments line at Darent Valley Hospital on 01322 428350 to register for the text system.

Darent Valley Hospital
Darent Valley Hospital

If the line is busy they can leave their name and contact number and hospital staff will ring back.

Patients can also visit www.dvh.nhs.uk/contact-or-visit-us/texting/ and complete an online form, or print off a paper version and bring it to their next appointment.

Ms Cartwright added: “It is so important for patients to tell the hospital as soon as they know they can’t make, or no longer need, their appointment.

"By not attending patients risk being removed from the waiting list and going through the whole referral process again.”

By reducing the number of missed appointments the hospital can make the best use of all appointments and significantly shorten waiting times for patients.

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