Text messaging reminder service

Our community health services in Hillingdon use a free text messaging (SMS) reminder service to notify you in advance of your appointments.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions related to the service with answers to help you understand how the service works.

How does it work?

If we hold a mobile number for you in our records, we will send you a free text message approximately three working days before your appointment. The text will also offer the option to ask for the appointment to be cancelled or rearranged.

Can you send text reminders to more than one phone?

We can send the same message to more than one phone as long as you have given us your consent to do so. However, be careful if you are considering giving us a number for a mobile phone you do not own, such as a company mobile. Is it always in your possession? Would you be happy that somebody else, such as a colleague or family member, could see messages about your appointments?

What happens if I do not want to receive text reminders?

You can opt out of the reminder service by emailing HCHnotifications@nhs.net. Please include the following information:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode
  • NHS number (if known)
  • RiO number (if known)

What if I change my mobile number?

Once we know the new number we can continue sending the reminder messages to your new mobile.

How secure is the service?

The information comes from our computer system which is highly secure. Mobile networks are secure and the mobile phone companies put very strict controls in place to prevent individuals from misusing network technology. It is extremely unlikely an individual text message would be read, and it would take a high level system administrator access to do so. Once the message reaches the mobile phone, it is only as secure as your phone.

Will the text messages be private?

We will not send any sensitive information by text, and you can tell us if you don't want us to text you.

Will I have to pay for the text message?

No, unless you are outside the UK, in which case your mobile provider may charge you to receive the text.

Can I reply by text if I can't make my appointment?

Not yet, but we hope to be able to offer this service in the future. There will be a number in the text to call if you need to cancel or change your appointment, or if you require any further information.

How will we use your information?

Your contact details are important to us because they ensure that we can contact you regarding appointment bookings, cancellations and to remind you of forthcoming appointments.

For more information about how we use your information, see Your health records.