"How much do all these NHS letters cost?"

About: Nottinghamshire County Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

My doctor dictated a letter to a specialty asking them an appointment for me.

I received a letter from Principia asking me to telephone for the appointment which I did. A second letter from Principia confirmed the appointment. Principia informed me that the hospital will also confirm the appointment.

How much does it cost to send a letter? Wages, materials, postage, rent, heat, light, etc. Surely there cannot be justification for all this correspondence?

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Response from Helen Limb, Patient and Public Involvement Manager, NHS Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group

Thank you for taking the time to feedback to us via Patient Opinion. Principia’s Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) only write to patients after two failed attempts of trying to contact patients by phone over a two day period. In order to not delay patient’s treatment we then write to the patient asking them to contact the CAS in the next five days.

It is frustrating that we have to send out a confirmation letter in the full knowledge that the hospital will also do this, but this system was put in place after some patients failed to attend their appointments as they hadn’t received confirmation from the hospital, this is often due to short waiting times not allowing sufficient turn around for the administration team at the hospital. Where the appointment is sufficient distance from the booking date we do send these letters second class.

We are continually reviewing our systems and are looking in to how we may use text messaging and email to reduce costs in the future.

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