London, 9 June 2020 – Healthcare Communications is sending out thousands of Covid-19 test results to Welsh residents via a new text messaging service. Results are delivered by SMS to key workers and members of the public who have been tested for the virus in Wales.

The service means that those who test positive can continue to self-isolate, while those who test negative can get back to their normal routines as soon as possible.

Public Health Wales has been working with Healthcare Communications to implement the system across Wales as part of its efforts to help scale up the country’s sampling and testing capacity. The system has now been rolled out in several local health board areas across Wales.

Dr John Boulton, Director of NHS Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, who heads up Public Health Wales’ testing cell, said: “Making sure that people in Wales get their test results in a timely and convenient manner is obviously hugely important.

“Equally important, though, is having a system for doing this that is time and resource efficient from an operational perspective.

“We are confident that the system we have in place with Healthcare Communications can support our continuing efforts to scale up Wales’ testing capacity as part of the next phase of our COVID-19 response.”

Previously, when testing numbers were at approximately 200 a day, results were shared over the phone. However, as testing numbers have increased, the urgency behind delivering results means that this is no longer a safe or efficient channel to do this.

Now, SMS messages are sent to thousands of individuals every day in both English and Welsh. The workflow is automated, so staff time spent on phone calls and admin can now be redirected to other COVID-19 duties to help keep Wales safe. This will prove invaluable as work continues to increase Wales’ testing capacity in line with the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace Protect strategy.

Healthcare Communications work with 5 of the 7 NHS Health Boards and the National Screening Services in Wales, sending over 3 million communications to Welsh patients every year.  Communications are delivered in Welsh and English to comply with the Welsh Language Act and deployed across several channels including SMS, IVM, agent call and by digital and postal letter.

Kenny Bloxham, Managing Director of Healthcare Communications spoke about the time sensitive nature of the messages: ‘this initiative requires a digital first approach to ensure critical results are shared quickly to protect the Welsh population from spread. We’re proud to be supporting Public Health Wales with bilingual communications to ensure residents can read results in their preferred language.’