MERSEYSIDE patients can now confirm hospital appointments by text. The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust’s two-way text service now allows patients to confirm, cancel or rearrange outpatient appointments when they receive their reminder text on their phone. The service, which makes managing appointments much easier for patients, will also help to reduce the number of missed appointments, which could have been given to other patients. Figures show that over 150,000 people missed their outpatient appointment at the Royal and Broadgreen since 2015, with each missed appointment costing around £160 on average. Nationally, missed appointments – or ‘Did Not Attends’ – cost the government around £1billion a year and cause longer waiting times for other patients. Patients will receive a text seven days before their appointment and 48-hours before if there is no reply to the original text. To benefit from the service, patients will need to make sure the Trust and GP have their up to date contact details. Patients will receive a phone call to their landline if the clinics don’t have access to a mobile phone number. Colin Hont, deputy chief nurse, said: “Patient care is always our priority. We know that one in ten people don’t attend their appointment simply because they forgot. When someone doesn’t attend their appointment without letting us know, it can delay treatment and increase waiting times for other patients. If we know a patient can’t attend their appointment, we can offer that space to someone else who needs it. “We’re launching this across most of our outpatient clinics. So patients can benefit from our new texting service, we’re asking that they check that our hospitals and their GP have their most up to date contact details.” Patients can opt out of the service by replying to the text with ‘Stop’.