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Digital Appointment Correspondence (DAC)

We often send messages by post, email, or text to let you know appointment details and reminders. Digital Appointment Correspondence consists of the initial patient portal followed by two text reminders.

Watch our video below to see how the Patient Portal letter process works. You can also watch the video on our YouTube channel. 

Visit our YouTube channel to watch the video (open new browser tab)

What does DAC offer to me as a Patient?

  • No more waiting for letters to arrive in the post, we'll simply send you a text with a secure web link to your appointment information
  • All the information you need to know about your appointment, all in one place
  • Confirm, request to rebook, or cancel appointments with just one click - and if you need to move the appointment we'll get in touch with alternative dates
  • Add the appointment directly to your smartphone calendar
  • Work out your travel plans with a real-time map
  • Translation functionality in 99 languages, or read aloud in a choice of 40 languages
  • Read additional information from the service regarding your appointment and the service provided 

Patient Portal

One of the ways we communicate is through Digital Appointment Correspondence (DAC) is using the Patient Portal.

The Patient Portal message from DAC will always include:

  • Come from a named sender called ‘NHS-BHFT’ and not a generic phone number
  • A four-digit PIN
  • The URL (http://nhsportal.net)– if your text contains a link that is not to nhsportal.net, please contact your service to confirm it’s legitimate

For example:

This is a digital communications invitation from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Please opt in via the following link with PIN 9704 to access your appointment information and letter online. Thank you.

Below is an image of an example message.

An example of a Portal Invite text message 

View an example of 'Portal invite' text message (jpg) 

Reminder text messages

Our reminder text messages will:

  • Come from a named sender called ‘NHS-BHFT’ and not a generic phone number - if, however, you’re regularly in contact with one of our clinicians they may text or call you from their own work mobile
  • Never include links asking you to provide any information
  • Possibly ask you to call a different number to confirm, cancel, or rebook your appointment You will have the option to text back your response (confirm, cancel, or rebook) or the option to call the service on the phone number provided in the text message

Below are images of example messages. 

An example of an Eight Day reminder text message An example of a two day reminder text message

View an example of an 'Eight day reminder' text message (jpg)

View an example of a 'Two day reminder' text message (jpg)

Here is a list of our services currently using digital appointment correspondence.

More services will start to use DAC in Autumn 2022.

Adult Mental Health and Community services

Children, Young People, and Families (CYPF) services

What is the benefit of me viewing my letter via the Patient Portal?

You will be able to view the full letter online, including any specific information for the service you have been referred to. You can also translate the letter into a different language, add the appointment to your smartphone calendar and view a Realtime map of how to get to the service on the day of your appointment.

There is also the option to “read” the letter using the Browse Aloud technology.

Will I only receive the digital letter?

Once your appointment has been booked, you will receive the patient portal invite. We will then send you two text messages to remind you of your appointment, one 8 days before your appointment and one 2 days before your appointment.

Missing an appointment costs the NHS £120 per appointment, these reminders are there to prompt you to let the service know if you are unable to attend and in turn offer that appointment to another patient.

What happens if I don’t view the patient portal on my phone?

If you don’t access the patient portal within 48 hours of receiving the text message, a letter will automatically be sent to you in the post. You’ll also automatically receive a letter in the post after 3 unsuccessful login attempts to the portal.

What if I don’t have a smartphone?

You will still receive a text message but won’t be able to access the portal link. The system will recognise that you haven’t accessed the portal and a letter will posted out to you.

What happens if I create a Patient portal account?

You will be able to view all your appointment information in one place, this will include any appointments you have for any service under Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

You will login using your email address and a password of your choice and wont need to use the four digit pin or date of birth. 

I want my parent/guardian/carer to receive a copy of my letter, is this possible?

Yes, please discuss this at your next appointment and the service will make sure your choices are noted on the system.