Texts messages reduce Jersey missed appointments

Jersey general hospital
Image caption Patients in Jersey are missing fewer States-provided medical appointments

Text reminders have cut the number of patients missing States medical appointments, figures suggest.

Officials expect 18,000 patients to miss appointments in Jersey this year, 17% fewer than the 21,000 missed in 2012. There are no earlier figures.

The missed appointments still represent 7% of the 255,000 total.

Assistant health minister John Refault said the reminders, introduced in July 2012, were likely to be having an effect.

The figures relate to all appointments provided by the health and social services department, although most of those are at Jersey General Hospital.

Health officials say each missed appointment can cost £100, equivalent to £1.8m this year.

Constable Refault said that was still too high.

He said many patients have initial consultations in Jersey but then have private treatment in the UK and fail to inform the health department.

He said: "It's not cost effective to have highly qualified professionals sitting around twiddling their thumbs."

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