We are launching a handy free text service to remind patients of their appointment date and time at Northampton General Hospital.
As part of this service patients who have an outpatient appointment with us will recieve reminders before their appointment. These will arrive as two text messages; one sent seven days before the appointment and one sent 48 hours before. These reminders will include options to rebook and cancel appointments.
This service helps to give our patients a handy reminder of when their appointment is and helps us to minimise the amount of wasted appointment slots per year.
Patients can opt out of being part of the text message reminder scheme at any time by contacting us.
We hope you will find these reminders helpful. Some frequently asked questions are provided below. If you have any concerns or queries please contact the hospital.
Frequently asked questions
What is in the text message?
This is a short message sent to your mobile phone detailing the date, time and location of your appointment. It will also provide details of how to cancel or rebook your appointment.
Are the text messages sent directly from NGH?
No. Northampton General Hospital is working with a trusted partner, Healthcare Communications. Healthcare Communications send the texts on behalf of the hospital.
What information is shared with Healthcare Communications?
We share the following information to allow the reminders to be generated:
- Mobile Number
- Home Phone Number
- Date of Birth
- Patient ID (This is the unique number used for you by Northampton General Hospital. This is not your NHS Number)
- Appointment Date and Time
- Consultant or Clinician Name
- Clinic Name
- Speciality Name
No information about your care and treatment will be shared with Healthcare Communications
How do I know Healthcare Communication will keep my data safe?
At Northampton General Hospital we are committed to keeping patient data safe. Before sharing any data with Healthcare Communications, we conducted a number of checks to ensure that they offer appropriate levels of security to the data they hold. We conducted a Data Protection Impact Assessment to fully identify and address any risks associated with the project. We have a contract in place with Healthcare Communications which covers data security.
Are Healthcare Communications registered with the Information Commissioners Office?
Yes, they are. Their registration number is Z6941651
Who will receive the messages?
Patients of Northampton General Hospital will receive a text messages if they have an appointment booked with us. Two reminders will be sent one seven days before the appointment and one two days before.
You will only receive a message if you have provided your mobile number to us. If you have provided us with a mobile number you will be opted into the service automatically unless you have previously opted out.
Patients can still choose to receive these messages in a voice format if a landline telephone number is provided.
Will I receive a text message for appointments my children have?
From December 2022 we will be using text message appointment reminders in some of our paediatric services. This means parents or guardians will be able to confirm attendance but if appointments need to be rescheduled or cancelled they will need to contact the service.
Services included at the current time are: Acute Child Health, Children's Diabetes, Children's Epilepsy, Paediatric Cardiology, Paediatric Clinical Haematology, Paediatric Endocrinology, Paediatric Gastroenterology, Paediatric Nephrology, Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Paediatric Rhumatology and Paediatric Urology.
Texts will be sent to the number listed under mobile on the child’s medical record. Please note only one number can be used so we cannot send texts to multiple parents or guardians. If required our team can change the number listed on the medical record for you.
Will text messages be sent to children with a secure address listed?
No, those with secure addresses will be excluded from the text reminder service.
Will I be charged for these texts?
You will be charged your standard network rate for responding to the message. If you are on a contract it will come out as 1 message from the contract, if on credit you will be charged a standard rate for sending an SMS.
I have an appointment coming up but I have not received a text message
You will receive two text messages before your appointment date. You will receive a text message seven days before your appointment and two days before your appointment. If you haven’t received a message it may be that the hospital does not have a correct mobile number for you. Please check with the clinic receptionist when you visit. If you are unsure of the number you have on file please contact the booking coordinator.
How do I opt out of the text message system?
To opt out, please reply to the message with the word ‘STOP’ or contact the hospital directly. We can then remove your phone number from our text reminder system. You will be charged your standard network rate for responding to the message. If you are on a contract it will come out as one message from the contract, if on credit you will be charged a standard rate for sending an SMS. Please note that we are only able to remove your current mobile number from our system. If you change your mobile number you will need to opt out of the message system again.
How can I opt into the system if I have previously opted out?
Please speak to a member of the booking coordinator team and request to be opted back into the text message appointment reminder service.
Who do I contact if I’ve received a text in error?
If you are a patient in the department that the message has been sent from then please contact the department directly using the telephone number on your appointment letter. Alternatively if you are not a patient in that department or of the hospital please phone the department you are being seen under and ask for the booking coordinator.
Can I rebook or cancel my appointment?
Yes. The text message will give you the option to rebook or cancel your appointment with us. If you press ‘REBOOK’ a member of our team will be in touch to arrange this with you. If you reply ‘CANCEL’ then your appointment will be cancelled. Please note, if you reply 'CANCEL' you will need to contact the hospital directly to let us know if you are cancelling your appointment indefinitely or if you are needing to cancel for another reason.
Please make sure you reply to the text and do not click on the unique code on the text. This code is a way to identify you as the patient.
Please note you cannot reply to rebook or cancel the appointments in paediatrics or breast screening. Please call the department directly to reschedule or cancel.
Why won't my text message send?
If the text will not send, please make sure your network service provider (Vodafone, 3, EE etc) allows the use of ‘short code’ texts. This is different for all devices so please check online for how you can do this. As well as this some premium numbers some texts are barred by default. The text is not extra to send, just uses standard allowance or rates.
How can I change my response if I reply with the wrong option?
If an incorrect response has been sent please call us directly so we can change this. Please do this as soon as possible.
How can I update my phone number or other details?
If you are a patient in the department that the message has been sent from then please contact the department directly using the telephone number on your appointment letter.
Can the text message be sent to two different mobile numbers?
At the moment we can only send messages to one nominated phone number.
Can I add the appointment into my calendar from the text message?
This is not possible at the current time.
Can someone else receive my reminders for me?
If you have your own contact details on our file, we will send the message directly to you. If you would like to update the contact information we have on file please inform the receptionist at your next appointment.
I am the parent or carer of a vulnerable child or adult – will I get a message?
Currently this service is for adult appointments only.
If you are a guardian or carer and we have your contact details on the patient’s electronic file, we will send the message to you. If the adult has their own contact details, we will send the message directly to them. If you would like to update the contact information for the person you care for, please inform the receptionist at your next appointment.
I have some further questions about this service. Who can I speak to?
If you are a patient in the department that the message has been sent from then please contact the department directly using the telephone number on your appointment letter. Alternatively if you are not a patient in that department or of the hospital please phone 01604 634700 to have your number removed.
What happens if the text is not delivered to my phone?
The text will only not be delivered if your phone is out of signal for over 12 hours or the mobile number on record is incorrect. If you are out of signal or the phone is turned off, the message will attempt delivery for 12 hours before failing.
Will I still receive a text reminder if I am abroad at the time of it being sent?
Yes, as long as the signal is valid the message will be delivered.