Patients in Herefordshire waiting more than 12 weeks for an appointment or procedure are being contacted by SMS text message, letter or telephone to help reduce hospital waiting lists so that patients can be seen as quickly as possible.

Patients who are contacted regarding their appointment or procedure are being urged to reply to the message as quickly as possible and asked not to ignore it.

By confirming if they still need their appointment, the Trust will better understand who still needs to be seen and identify those who may no longer need their appointment – freeing up appointments for those who have been waiting a long time.

The initiative will help to ensure that waiting lists are up to date and will help the Trust prioritise patients based on their clinical need.

The introduction of this initiative will help the Trust improve its waiting lists by:

Reducing the number of missed appointments

Confirm those patients who may have already received treatment through a different route

Identify those patients whose symptoms may have cleared over time and therefore no longer feel they need to be seen.

“We appreciate the need to exercise caution when receiving text messages and phone calls from a new source and that some patients may, understandably, delete our message assuming it to be spam,” said Jane James, the Trust’s general manager for patient access.

“However, it’s important that patients who receive a text or letter from Wye Valley NHS Trust reply as soon as possible. Once you have responded you don’t need to do anything else. If you need to be seen sooner, we will contact you.

“We will not be contacting all our patients, so if you don’t receive an email or SMS/ text message, please don’t worry – there’s no need to contact us,” added Jane.