From January 2020, we will be launching an SMS text message service for our patients. We hope that you will find this service useful and a convenient way of managing your appointments.
We will only ever send you messages for purposes directly related to your care. These will typically comprise:
We will normally text you 48 hours before your appointment to remind you of the date, time and clinician who you are booked in with and the clinic site.
You will also be able to cancel this appointment by reply if you are no longer able to attend. This will save you needing to phone us!
Reminders to book appointments
We may send you a message to remind you to book in should you require a follow up procedure such as repeat endoscopy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be sent lots of marketing information and spam messages that are of no interest to me?
No. We will only ever use this service to send you messages that are directly related to your health care with Tyneside Surgical Services.
We will never use this service to send you marketing information or pass your details on to any third parties.
What if I change my mobile number?
Reminders will be sent to the most recent phone number we hold on your medical record, so please inform us as soon as possible if you change your number.
What if I no longer want to receive Text Messages from Tyneside Surgical Services?
You can opt-out of this service at any time, you just need to inform us you are withdrawing your consent and you will be removed from the Text Message Reminder Service. You can call our team on 0191 445 2474 or use the Contact Us page.
We share a mobile telephone – can I receive reminders for my partner’s appointments?
Where our records show that more than one patient is linked to a mobile number; we will seek consent for text messages to be sent to that number.
How secure is this service?
Text Message Reminders are generated using a secure facility but they are transmitted using a public network onto your personal mobile telephone. Once the message reaches your mobile telephone it is only as secure as you keep your phone. We will not send anything which would enable an individual to be identified.
How does the Text Messaging Service work under GDPR?
Using patient mobile phone numbers for direct medical care such as; appointment, annual review and vaccination reminders, is part of direct care. Processing patient data for the purposes of providing direct care is recognised as a specific exemption under GDPR regulation, with Article 6 providing the legal basis and Article 9 establishing a specific exception for healthcare and the management of healthcare systems.
For this reason there is no obligation under GDPR to obtain explicit consent before sending text messages related to direct patient care to patients. This is similar to your consultant’s secretary phoning to notify you of your test results.
Sending text messages for non-direct medical care communications without explicit consent is forbidden under GDPR however, and the service will not be used for these purposes.
Despite the above, we always operate a consent based approach to managing patient communication preferences. You will always have the right to ‘opt-out’ from receiving text messages from us under this service. Please contact your consultant’s secretary to update your communication preferences if required.