The number of people signed up to the text message reminder service for outpatient appointments at Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital is now 5,788.
Appointments are still being missed, however, and the Department of Health and Social Care is urging more residents to sign up and stay informed.
While patients continue to receive appointment letters by post, the DHSC stopped sending out reminder letters in March this year as a cost-saving measure following the successful implementation of the text message reminder service in October 2016.
The shift in policy was made in light of substantial evidence from the UK and further afield that text reminders are successful in reducing the number of people who fail to attend hospital clinics.
The latest figures from the DHSC indicate that this trend is being replicated in the Isle of Man, with non-attendance figures for those who had not signed up to text message reminders standing at 4.4% and those who had at 2.8%.
Patients using the service are sent a text three days before an appointment, confirming the time and date, which means they have the opportunity to attend or rearrange. To take advantage of this service, patients must opt in.
Patients can opt in to the free text messaging service in the following ways:
- Call the dedicated number 651651 or email NoblesSMSRegistration@gov.im providing their name, date of birth and mobile phone number, and confirming that they wish to sign up to text alerts
- Sign up at the main reception areas in Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital
- Sign up during their next clinic appointment at either hospital
Dr Jugnu Mahajan, Medical Director for the Isle of Man, said:
‘We are really pleased with how many people are now using the text messaging reminder service – but urge more to sign up to help keep bringing the number of missed appointments down and enable hospital staff to make the best use of clinic capacity.’