03 OCT 2012

Greg Clark MP gets better patient appointment reminder system at Tunbridge Wells Hospital

In July this year, MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark, asked the Chief Executive of Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Glenn Douglas, to review the appointment reminder system at Tunbridge Wells Hospital after constituents had raised concerns about it.

As a result, Tunbridge Wells Hospital introduced a new telephone reminder system on 1 October 2012. The system will automatically call patients to remind them about their appointments.

Greg Clark said:

"Some hospital patients had been in contact with me to say that the hospital reminder appointment system was not working very well and that, as a result, they had missed crucial consultations and check-ups. Missed appointments can obviously be very serious in the case of life-threatening illnesses.

"In this day and age, it seemed strange to me that Tunbridge Wells Hospital only used a paper-based system as many other hospitals around the country have a more high-tech approach using, for example, text messaging. I put this to the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust and I am delighted that he has acted so quickly to make the improvements.

"With ever growing pressures on the NHS, it is extremely important that hospitals operate as efficiently as possible. If patients do not attend appointments, this costs the NHS a lot of money and increases waiting lists. Hopefully, this new system will help ensure that fewer appointment slots are wasted and that more patients can be seen."

The new appointment reminder system will, for example, automatically call patients to remind them that they have an outpatient appointment. It asks the person to respond so the hospital knows whether they will definitely be coming. If they respond with a "no", the patient will then be asked if they would like to reschedule and will be transferred to the relevant department to re-book.

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