EAST Cheshire NHS Trust is relaunching its free appointment reminder service in conjunction with Stockport-based Healthcare Communications UK. From 1 August patients will be sent timely, discreet reminder messages via text or landline confirming their appointment and giving them the opportunity to cancel or request a re-arrangement if required. It is hoped the messaging initiative will reduce the number of missed appointments, which last year topped 11,000. Jo Derbyshire, outpatient manager, said: "We feel this new service offers not only a discreet reminder, but also a very convenient and simple way for patients to contact us if they no longer require or need to change their appointment arrangements. By making it easier for patients to get in touch with us and let us know ahead of time if they can no longer keep their appointment, we can see other patients more quickly and can reduce our waiting times and costs dramatically." The hospital is using the Envoy Trust Messenger platform, which was one of the first patient messaging solutions available to the NHS and is now used by 24% of all trusts in England.