JPH introduces telephone reminders

THE James Paget University Hospital (JPH) is to introduce automated telephone call appointment reminders in a bid to cut the financial cost of patients who fail to turn up.

The launch on March 28 of the service supplied by the private provider 360 CRM follows the successful introduction of a similar system at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, last year.

Patients are being sent leaflets telling them about the new service. People with an appointment will receive an automated call asking them to confirm they are the person concerned by pressing the number 1 on their keypad followed by their date of birth. The message will then continue asking them to press the appropriate number on their keypad to confirm, cancel or rearrange their appointment.

Consultant nurse Denise Smith said each missed appointment - known as a Did Not Attend (DNA) - cost the hospital about �110. The scale of the problem could be measured by the fact that in the ear, nose and throat department (ENT) it had been calculated that 5.8pc of appointments were DNAs.

The service is being launched as a pilot in three clinical areas - opthalmology, orthopaedics and ENT - but will be rolled out across the hospital if it proves successful.

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