ANn appointment confirmation service is being introduced in hospitals run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) in order to reduce the number of missed appointments.

Evidence from elsewhere in the country has shown that by providing reminders to patients of their appointments , the number of missed appointments are reduced. An additional benefit is that it allows patients to re-schedule appointments to a convenient time.

Reminders are made using either an automated telephone call or via a call centre.

George Nasmyth, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “The new service is easy to use and costs the patient nothing. When patients receive a call they should follow the instructions of the automated call or agent, which will ask them to confirm who they are before reminding them of their appointment details.

"They will be asked to press the appropriate button on their telephone keypad to confirm, cancel or rearrange their appointment.

“The call and reminder is completely free of charge to the patient and improves the quality of the service provided to the patient. Missed appointments cost the NHS millions of pounds every year.

"The cost of the reminders is insignificant compared to the amount of money lost by missed appointments.”

If patients prefer not to be reminded about their appointments, they can opt out any time by informing the out-patient receptionist or contact centre on 0845 055 9990.