A TEXT service is being rolled out to check whether NHS patients in Ayrshire and Arran still need their appointments.

The service, newly introduced by NHS Scotland, aims to keep waiting lists up to date and confirming the necessity for patients’ appointments or surgical procedures.

Patients on the waiting list for orthopaedic, endoscopy or dermatology procedures will receive text messages from the National Elective Coordination Unit (NECU).

The process will start later this week and extend into the summer.

Jacqui Donald, NHS Ayrshire and Arran's acute site director at University Hospital Ayr, said: "NECU supports local NHS boards to ensure that information held on NHS Scotland waiting lists is accurate, helping us to reallocate any appointments or operations that are no longer needed to others on the waiting list."

The text messages sent out by NECU will include a link to a concise survey inquiring if patients still need their appointment and some questions confirming their identity.

Any individual completing the survey on behalf of a patient is required to provide the patient's details.

The text message from the NECU will come from the mobile number 07860 039092.

Further outlining the process, Ms Donald added: "The texts will initially be sent to patients waiting for orthopaedic procedures and endoscopy appointments, followed by those awaiting dermatology appointments.

"If you are waiting for an orthopaedic, endoscopy or dermatology appointment or procedure within NHS Ayrshire and Arran, please do not ignore this message.

"Click on the link in your message to complete the survey and follow the simple instructions.

"We want to reassure our patients that the information gathered will only be used to manage our waiting lists, and all information shared will be kept safe and secure.

"This service has been used by a number of boards over the last year and has been extremely successful in determining, not only if the appointment was still required, but in prioritising urgent cases."

NECU adheres to NHS Scotland's clinical and information governance standards, policies, and procedures.

More information regarding the waiting list validation service can be found on the NHS Ayrshire and Arran website at nhsaaa.net.