SMS Text Messaging Policy
SMS Text Messaging Policy Mobile phones have opened up a new avenue for communication between the Practice and its patients. The immediate delivery of SMS messages gives it an advantage over other forms of communication and text messaging has wide accessibility.
Text messaging is covered by the Data Protection Act and if you supply us with a mobile phone number we will ask for your consent to OPT IN to messaging. This will be both when you register with us (for new patients) and at the point of care. We will routinely check consent for text messaging for example if we are in the process of organising tests for you
There are a number of reasons where an SMS message can 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
- Sending self- care information and links
We will not send you text messages for other reasons.
Confidentiality and security of text messaging is extremely important and 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.
We ask all our staff to minimise the amount of personal and sensitive data that they use in text messaging, and to consider carefully whether using a text message is appropriate. Our GP’s can use text messaging for sending messages to patients (such as when looking at results) Each text message is stored in the patient’s medical record, should be clear and avoid use of abbreviations. Our messages are sent from our IT system so are not sent from a mobile phone.
We understand that some patients will not want to receive SMS text messages from the Practice. 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 notify the surgery in writing (by letter or by email) indicating their name and mobile telephone number.
One Way Communication
It is not possible to reply to text messages from the Practice but you can cancel appointments via the link if you receive a reminder and you can no longer attend.
Children and Young People
We will actively ask young people if they wish to OPT IN to text messaging once they are 16, and re-checking this with 16-20 year olds regularly. Young people aged 13 – 18 will be opted out by default until we can ensure that we have their own mobile number on their records, and have agreed the use of text messaging with them.
Review and Evaluation
As use of text messaging is a new and growing area, we will continually review our policy on an annual basis as well as in the event of any incident or complaint.
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