Texts aim to cut missed appointments
Hospital managers are sending text messages to patients to try to cut the number of missed appointments.
Between April and December last year, more than 53,000 people – almost one in 10 – failed to show up for their outpatient appointment at one of the city's three hospitals.
The number was slightly down on the same period in 2010, when 55,000 patients missed appointments.
A spokesman for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: "We extended text messaging reminders to about 80 per cent of the trust in June.
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"We are hoping it will reduce wasted time for staff and patients.
"There are some areas which are not covered by the service, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy appointments, where we feel if it would be rather insensitive to send a text message to patients."
Figures released by the Department of Health showed that 8.4 per cent of patients in the East Midlands – 4.1 million people – missed their outpatient appointment.
Health minister Simon Burns said: "It is important that people realise that not turning up for their agreed appointments means other patients care might be delayed and doctors' and nurses' time could be wasted.
"That costs taxpayers money."