Patients are to get phone call to remind them about hospital appointments in a bid to cut down on ‘no shows’.
With some clinics having around one in ten people failing to turn up, NHS Forth Valley is rolling out the service after a successful trial.
Patients due for outpatient appointments in cardiology, ear nose and throat, endocrinology, ophthalmology and pain management will get the calls, after the success in gastroenterology, neurology and dermatology.
A health board spokesperson said patients failing to show up wastes staff time and resources, but can also lead to longer waiting times for others.
Under the new system patients will automatically receive a telephone call around seven days before the date of their outpatient appointment.
A recorded message will ask patients to confirm they are planning to attend or speak to member of staff if they want to change or cancel their appointment.
A local telephone number – 01324 566249 – will appear on caller display to help avoid any potential confusion with unwanted sales or marketing calls.
The roll-out of the reminder service will enhance the patient-focused booking service already in use which enables patients to arrange an appointment day and time which suits them, rather than being automatically allocated an appointment which they may be unable to keep.
Emma Hamilton, NHS Forth Valley health records services manager, said: “The extension of this new reminder system should help reduce the number of people who fail to show up for an appointment because they have either forgotten or they can no longer attend. Enabling patients to pick a date and appointment time which suits them will also help especially for those with specific work commitments, holidays or transport issues.”