Posted on Wednesday 9th May 2012
West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven
Due to the success of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s telephone reminder service for Outpatients, it has now been rolled out to all routine elective patients at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.
From 30 April 2012, patients with a routine elective appointment, both inpatients and day surgery (with the exclusion of cardiology and gynaecology), will be contacted by telephone five days before their appointment to confirm their attendance. This is not an automated telephone call, so if patients have queries about the service, agent callers can provide a central contact number. Patients also have the choice to opt out of the service.
The reason the reminders are made five days in advance, is that this will give the hospital time to offer any appointments which are cancelled to other patients and prevent expensive theatre slots being wasted.
The telephone reminder service was introduced last year in order to reduce missed hospital appointments at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital. The service began with Outpatients and was a resounding success, with 650 fewer appointments being missed every month, saving the Trust thousands of pounds in lost income.
The service will be expanded to include routine day cases and inpatients at the Cumberland Infirmary later on this month.
Louise Corlett, Divisional General Manager for Surgery, said: “It can be really easy to forget about a hospital appointment, or to not get around to changing an appointment if you cannot attend. The telephone service reminds patients who may have forgotten and makes it easier for patients who wish to cancel their appointment to do so.
“Every year thousands of appointments at our hospitals are wasted when patients don’t attend. We are making real strides with this reminder service which means we are saving on our costs.”