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Communicate well with your patients and help reduce DNAs

by in Campaigns, DNAs

With over “14 million missed doctors’ appointments occurring every year across England”* it’s more important than ever to engage with patients in a way that’s guaranteed to help drive responses.

Research shows that over 65% of people find postal mailings to be particularly informative**, and this is why letters remain one of the most popular and effective forms of communication. They also help to reduce the number of DNAs in practices. The NHS recognises that appointment letters should contain patient-relevant information and be easy to understand. Clarity improves the effectiveness of letters and reduces patient anxiety.

To assist you with your postal communications during the 2019 flu season, and to help you increase response rates at your practice, Docmail has created a series of letters (based on the NHS 2019 Flu Initiative) and letter templates for your use. These letters have been designed to make your postal mailings stand out and to help streamline your appointment-making process during this busy period.

How can these be used?


The four sample letters supplied can be used for targeting patients who require flu vaccinations. These have been written in line with the Government 2019 Flu Initiative and are differentiated for your varied audience.


Flu facts

This template can be used on the reverse of your flu-patient letters. It’s designed to give advice to patients about flu symptoms and preventions, and to help encourage uptake during the flu season.

Priority pass

This pass can be used as a footer on your flu-patient communications. It’s created for health visitors and carers who require a flu vaccination for their work and need an appointment to fit in with their busy schedules. This pass highlights to the practice that this group needs a flexible and speedy appointment.

Response slips

Generic and flu-specific templates have been provided, and these can be used all year round to help arrange appointments for your patients. The slips have been designed to maximise patient engagement and drive response rates by offering patients alternative methods of responding to appointments.

All letters and letter templates are completely compatible with Docmail. In this way, you’re not only working towards reducing your flu DNAs, but you’re saving time and money too. A full guide for their use on Docmail can be found in the ‘Resources’ section of the Practice Index website, alongside posters and waiting room screen display images.

For further information on communicating with your patients via Docmail, you can email [email protected] or telephone 01761 409701. 

**Royal Mail Market Reach, 2015

* Geoff Norcott, 2017 (https://fullfact.org/health/total-number-missed-gp-appointments/)

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Practice Index

Practice Index

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