Monday 22 July 2024
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Nottingham Hospitals moves to digital letters to save costs of missed appointments

Hospital bosses hope a move to digital patient correspondence will help cut the number of missed appointments (DNA), which cost the NHS around £1bn a year.

The move – which is being rolled out by Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust – will reduce postage costs and the Trust’s carbon footprint.

Patients will be texted or emailed a link to a secure portal, which they log onto to access their letters.

Their information will be instantly and always available via their computer, smartphone or tablet. If the text or email isn’t opened within three days, a paper letter will automatically be sent out.

No redundancies will be made as a result of the project, which will also:

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  • help the Trust meet the Accessible Information Standards (AIS)
  • improve technology to enable patients to communicate with the Trust digitally in line with the aims of the Sustainable Transformation Programme (STP)
  • bring NUH documentation in line with other digitally-enabled areas of patients’ lives
  • help with the Trust’s strategy of becoming paperless

The Treatment Centre was the first to roll out the digital letters, followed by Ophthalmology A & B Floor, Hayward House, and Oncology. The Central Appointments Office used a hybrid approach during the pandemic and now send around 80% of appointment letters digitally. Other areas will continue to switch over to digital letters in the coming months.

All texts come from the same central number which is currently used for NHS text reminders – +447860 039092.


Patients who want to continue to receive paper copies can opt out of the digital service.

Lisa Lawrence, NUH Deputy Director of Digital Services, said: “This is a big step forward for NUH and will deliver significant benefit to our patients as we know that people want the option to receive information digitally and reduce the amount of paper that they receive.

“I am especially pleased that this will support our patients with specific accessibility needs such as the visually impaired. This is just one step on our journey to providing a digital patient experience.”

*NHS Benchmarking Network report.

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