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NHS Trust asks: Do you still need your appointment? – Digital Health Technology News

In line with national processes our Trust is making sure all patients on our waiting lists still require our specialist services.

To do this we are sending text messages to patients on our waiting lists to ask them to let us know if they still need to be seen.

Louise Buchanan, Associate Medical Director at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) said: “In order to make sure that we are making the best use of our resources we are now getting in touch with patients who have been waiting a long time, to make sure that they still need to be seen.

“We are doing this by text message. If you receive a text then we ask that you reply as soon as possible to let us know if you still need an appointment or if your circumstances have changed and you no longer need one.

“People may no longer need our specialist services because they have had the treatment privately, they have been treated at another Trust or they may have improved without the treatment. It’s important that anyone who no longer needs to be on our waiting list tell us so that we can speed up the process for those who do need to be seen.

“Our teams are working very hard to make sure that people are seen as soon as possible and our waiting lists are reduced.”

The text message will explain that we are aware that you are waiting for an appointment with a specialist service and we are checking to see if you need to remain on the list. You only need to reply to the message if you no longer need the appointment. Your reply will be a standard message rate.

After that a member of our team will be in touch. Beware of scammers; NCIC will not ask for any other information other than whether you still need the appointment. We will never request money.

Patients who will have waited more than 26 weeks for an appointment with a specialist by the 31st March (and who have not had any contact from us in the last 12 weeks) will all be contacted by the 10th March.  This is around 5000 people.

The next stage of the process is that anyone who on the 20th April has waited more than 12 weeks for an appointment with specialist services in the Trust will be contacted through the text service by the 12th May. This is around 18,000 people.

Anyone who replies to say they no longer need the treatment will be followed up with a phone call to verify the reason. If they need to come off the waiting list that process is undertaken through the service and they will be discharged.

The Trust is committed to improving our waiting times for patients to see our specialist services. We have worked hard to reduce the backlog that has been caused by the ongoing pressure across the NHS. This has been done by increasing the numbers of clinics, weekend working and investment into the temporary increase in capacity such as the mobile endoscopy unit.



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