Waiting list technology

As part of wider efforts to tackle waiting lists which have grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Wye Valley NHS Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are testing a new way of improving communications with patients who are waiting for hospital outpatient appointments using automated callers to get in touch with patients who have been waiting for some time. This will allow the Trusts to establish whether patients’ conditions have improved, whether they have sought treatment elsewhere or whether they still need to be seen.

During the calls, patients will be guided through a series of questions and asked whether they wish to remain on the waiting list. The patients who will receive an automated call will be sent an SMS/text message in advance to let them know they can expect an automated call about their appointment. During the call, patients can still choose to speak to someone in person and plans are in place to use alternative means to contact anyone who misses a call.

Mike Emery, Director for Digital Health and infrastructure at NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG said: “We know that across the country the NHS is facing a huge challenge to restore services as a result of the disruption caused throughout the pandemic.

“In order to address waiting times and ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible, we are looking at a number of ways to do this and automated calling is one option.

“We will still be using traditional means of letter writing and personal calling also, but in addition to this we need to look to innovative solutions to help manage the increasing demand for services."

Automated calling has already been adopted in other parts of the country to contact those who have waited throughout the pandemic to see if they wish to remain on appointment lists.

The Trusts will continue to contact other patients via more traditional methods - telephone or letter. For more information on the use of this technology and Frequently Asked Questions please follow the links below.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Wye Valley NHS Trust