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New reminder system to be set up by Hampstead hospital after 75,000 fail to attend their appointments

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 May 2013

Royal Free Hospital

Royal Free Hospital

Nigel Sutton

More than 75,000 patients missed an appointment at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital, new figures have shown.

During the course of 2010/11 the trust recorded a total of 668,639 booked appointments, but 77,350 patients (11.6 per cent) did not attend. In 2011/12 the missed appointment rate had dropped marginally to 10.7 per cent.

The figures were published ahead of a meeting of Camden Council’s health scrutiny committee last Tuesday.

The local authority had asked all six of the borough’s NHS Foundation Trusts to provide a report on whether there would be a saving on the cost of sending letters to patients by using text messages instead.

Savings

According to the report submitted by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, around £1million could be saved if missed appointments were drastically reduced.

Results from an appointment text reminder pilot scheme showed a 2.4 per cent reduction in missed appointments, while another scheme which used a mixture of texts and reminder phone calls reduced missed appointments by 4.3 per cent.

As a result, the trust says it is planning to introduce the new appointment reminder service in the near future.


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