ChatBot - managing waiting lists

We are aware that some people have been sent multiple text messages over a short period of time.  It is nothing to worry about - we are investigating the issue and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Chatbot is an automated call system, which guides patients through a series of questions designed by NHS consultants and healthcare experts. The pilot saw 2,282 waiting list patients in Morecambe Bay and Preston receive a call asking about their health condition. 75 per cent of patients responded to either the automated call, or a follow-up call from a member of staff.

The Chatbot programme has now been rolled out to other hospitals and medical specialties in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

So far, out of 17,299 patients contacted this year, 13,583 have been validated at a response rate of 79 per cent with almost 1,200 patients indicating they could leave the waitlist. 

LSC ICB programme results to date:

  • 8 per cent of all patients indicated they could leave the list.
  • 89 per cent of all patients indicated they could remain on the list.
  • 3 per cent of all patients indicated they required an appointment sooner.

ChatBot FAQs

[NAME OF HOSPITAL TRUST] will attempt to make an automated call to discuss your health condition & the treatment you may be waiting for. Please answer the call which will be made from telephone number [SEE BELOW FOR NUMBERS]. Thank you. For further information please see:

The number you will be called from will vary depending on which Hospital Trust you are waiting for treatment with.

For Blackpool Teaching Hospitals it’s: 0330 808 8929

For Lancashire Teaching Hospitals it’s: 0330 165 6765

For University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust it’s: 0330 165 6680

For East Lancashire Hospitals Trust it’s: 0330 165 7674

Patients from Blackburn, Blackpool, Preston and Morecambe Bay Hospitals will be contacted if they are waiting for an outpatient appointment or surgical procedure.

If you are on the list to receive an automated call, you will receive a SMS/text message from your hospital in advance to let you know you will be receiving an automated call about your hospital appointment. In the message we will include the phone number from which you will receive the automated call so that you can save the number.

The automated call will last no more than 2 minutes after you have confirmed your name and date of birth.

If you are not reached on the first call, or the call goes to an answerphone, the automated caller will try another time or day. If three consecutive automated calls are missed, you will receive a direct call from an NHS member of staff. If you miss these calls then we will attempt to contact you at a later date.

Alternative methods of communication will be made available.

The caller will ask you to confirm your name and date of birth and will state the specific appointment you are being called about. Carers can also respond on behalf of those they care for if the hospital has their details. If you make a mistake with your details you will be automatically transferred to an operator. 

The automated caller will state the specific appointment or operation about which we are calling you.

No, you will only be asked to confirm your name and date of birth but no other information. The NHS will never ask for bank details or other personal information not related to your healthcare.

No, your hospital will review your answers first and may contact you to confirm you wish to be removed from the waitlist. If you have not heard from your hospital then please give them a call. 

The automated caller will ask to confirm your name, date of birth and state which appointment you are waiting for before proceeding with the rest of the call.

If you are not reached on the first call, or the call goes to an answerphone, the automated caller will try another time or day. If three consecutive calls are missed, a member of staff will call you from the number we included in the SMS message.

If the call ended before you were able to answer all the questions you will either receive another automated call or will be called by a staff member. You will then be asked to confirm your name and date of birth and be able to go through the questions again.

You would continue to wait for your appointment or elective procedure. We may attempt to contact you again in the future but not until we've contacted all eligible patients at least once.

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