Mobile phones have opened up a new avenue for communication between the Surgery and its patients. The immediate delivery of Small Message Service (SMS or Text) messages gives it an advantage over other forms of communication. Text messaging has wide accessibility.
There are a number of scenarios in which an SMS message be very useful:
- Appointment reminders
- Flu vaccination reminders
- Child immunisation reminders
- Making patients aware of changes to clinics or services in the Surgery
- Opportunity to receive feedback on Surgery services
- Informing patients of test results or other information relevant to their care
The usefulness of text messaging depends on having reliable data. We will check mobile telephone numbers as often as we can but we ask that patients let the surgery know as soon as their mobile telephone number changes. Mobile telephone numbers can be updated by calling reception or talking to the receptionists in the Surgery; they will be updated immediately.Let us know as soon as a mobile telephone number has changed.
Communicating with patients: the Surgery will send SMS texts to the mobile telephone number that has been provided. Written and posted letters are rarely used. Patients are responsible for ensuring that the mobile phone number given to the Surgery is correct, uptodate and appropriate to be used for all communications that the Surgery may need to make.
We understand that some patients will not want to receive SMS text messages from the Surgery. We ask that patients carefully consider the advantages of receiving these messages before choosing to opt out. If patients are clear they wish to opt out, we ask them to write to the Practice Manager at the surgery indicating their name and mobile telephone number. When this letter has been processed, no more SMS messages will be sent to that mobile. Please note that the preference to opt-out of receiving SMS text messages from the Surgery will need to be renewed annually after 1 November.
Sending SMS Messages to the Surgery
The Surgery will try its hardest to respond to all messages sent via SMS. Patients retain responsibility to check that an SMS message has been actioned in the absence of any confirmatory response. All SMS messages the Surgery receives should be written in polite and respectful language. Where langauge is offensive or foul, the SMS message will be deleted and a behaviour warning letter may be sent.