Text reminders are helping to reduce missed hospital appointments in York and much of North Yorkshire, health bosses have said.  

The NHS trust that runs York, Scarborough, Malton, Selby and Bridlington hospitals said on average, patients did not turn up for about 5.4 per cent of their appointments in 2023.

A health committee heard that trust  data appears to suggest that rates of non-attendance are higher among patients from more deprived neighbourhoods.

Earlier this year, the trust started sending text reminders to patients and says the scheme is reducing non-attendance.  

A spokesman for the York and Scarborough NHS Teaching Hospital Trust said:  “In the last year, the average of missed outpatient appointments across our hospitals was 5.4 per cent, variable by month.

“We appreciate how busy people are and how easy it can be to forget an appointment or mislay an appointment card.  It’s been shown that sending appointment reminders can significantly reduce the number of missed appointments.

“Through our text reminder service, not only do patients get reminded of their upcoming appointment, but it also offers them the opportunity to cancel or rearrange, if required, by simply replying. 

"This will help us to see more patients, more quickly.  It’s also a quick and easy way for our patients to manage their appointments.

“The introduction of a text reminder service has correlated with a reduction in missed appointments.”

A meeting of the Scarborough and Whitby area constituency committee discussed trust data about the non-attendance figures.  

Coun Liz Colling said: “The Trust has mapped missed hospital appointments by geography and medical condition, and what it seemed to show was that our most deprived areas have the highest incidences of missed appointments.

“While the Trust is interested from an efficiency point of view, I’m really concerned that we have people with a health need who have gone through the necessary hoops and waits to get a hospital appointment, and then for reasons we do not know, have not kept that.”

She added that the Trust’s chief executive, Simon Morritt, had said he would be happy to provide the committee with more information.