Saxilby GP lets patients cancel via text

A Lincoln village GP launched a new service in a bid to minimise the number of missed appointments.

Trent Valley Surgery in Saxilby introduced the new text message service which allows patients to cancel unwanted or unneeded GP appointments simply by texting the word “CANCEL” to the dedicated number.

It comes after the NHS Lincolnshire West CCG claimed missed appointments cost the region’s health services almost £1.5 million.

Lucy Holland-Hancock, IT & Data at Trent Valley Surgery, said: “This system means we can contact patients immediately without having to use up staff time making phone calls or writing letters.

“The patient can actually respond to use purely by using their mobile phone which for many makes things easier.

“The text messaging system means even if it is the day before a patient’s appointment, they can easily and quickly cancel it without having to try and call the practice at 8am that morning.

“Our system is designed to automatically detected these cancellations, enabling them to be offered to other patients.

“Patients are responding well to the new system and are already using it. In June we have had about 20 people responding to cancel an appointment.”

Over the past three months, Trent Valley Surgery saw 139 appointments missed by patients.

Trent Valley Surgery in Saxilby. Photo: Google Street View

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

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

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