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Digital letters and text reminders: questions and answers

What are digital letters?

Digital letters:

  • allow patients to view their letters quickly and easily
  • reduce confusion from lost letters or letters arriving in the wrong order
  • save the NHS money by reducing the amount of paper and stamps that we are using
  • reduce our environmental impact

How do I view my digital letter?

You will be sent a text message (and email, if available) when you have a new digital letter to view online.

To view your letter:

  • Click the secure link in your text message to be directed to the patient portal
  • Click "View letter" and log in with your last name, date of birth and postcode
  • Your new digital letter will download as a PDF and should open automatically. If this doesn't happen you can find and view your letter in your devices' Downloads area

Your letters will be stored on the DrDoctor patient portal for future reference.

You can also log in from any device by visiting the patient portal directly.

When logging in to the patient portal directly, we will send a code to your mobile phone number for security purposes.

How can I receive paper letters?

Patients who prefer paper letters can still receive their letters by post. We will automatically send you a paper letter if you don’t view your digital letter within three days.

If you want to view your letter online and receive a paper letter by post you can request a printed letter by:

  • replying PRINT to your original text message notifying you that you have a new digital letter
  • logging into your secure patient portal, going to the "Settings" menu in the top right, and turning off the paperless option

If you change your mind at any time and want to receive your information digitally again, you can reply DIGITAL to the original text message. You can also log into the secure patient portal, go into the "Settings" menu and turn on the paperless option.

What can I expect?

You will receive new style text messages via your mobile phone, from which you will be able to access our online patient portal by following the link included in the text/email.

From the patient portal, you can:

  • request to rebook or cancel your appointments
  • view location information, including a map, to help ensure you get to the right place at the right time
  • view clinic information about your upcoming appointment
  • add your appointment to your calendar
  • view all upcoming appointment details in one place
  • continue to have easy access to digital outpatient letters

What do I need to do?

Make sure that we have your up-to-date mobile number and email address, so that we can contact you. Ask the receptionist to check we have these details when you have your next appointment.

What if my letter does not automatically open?

Your letter should automatically open but if this doesn’t happen you can find and view your letter in your devices’ Downloads area.

Why was digital letters and text notifications introduced?

We have introduced digital letters and text notifications to allow us to:

  • improve how we communicate with our patients
  • deliver letters to patients faster
  • reduce confusion from lost letters or letters arriving in the wrong order
  • save the NHS money by reducing the amount of paper and stamps we are using
  • reduce our environmental impact
  • provide a text reminder to patients before their appointments

Which specialties are included?

This is live across all specialties at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).

If I get a digital outpatient letter, will I also get a letter in the post?

If you open and read your digital outpatient letter within three days of receiving it, you will not get a printed letter in the post. If you would like to receive an appointment letter by post please reply to the text message you have received with PRINT. If you do this you will get a digital letter and a printed outpatient letter.

I’ve received a text message/email with an link in it saying that I have a new digital letter. Is this from the hospital?

Yes. They will be sent by a company we are working with called DrDoctor. They will send patients text messages from the number 07860 039 092 and emails containing a "" link. This link is unique to patients for their digital letter so will look something like "".

What is DrDoctor?

DrDoctor is a digital health company that aims to modernise how hospitals and patients communicate. Their platform provides a convenient way for patients to manage their appointments while reducing costs and saving time.

Why are staff asking me to confirm my personal details when I attend or ring the Trust?

Your mobile number will be used to send your appointment letter to you digitally. It will also be used to send a text reminder of your appointment. It is therefore important that we have the most up-to-date mobile number for you.

I have a new mobile number – can I update it?

You can update your contact details at either one of the links below in the "Settings" menu. If you cannot get online, please let us know and we can update it for you.

Can I receive email notifications about my digital letters as well as text messages?

If we have your email address, we will also email you.

I am not receiving SMS reminders – should I be?

If we have the most recent mobile number for you then you should receive reminders by text message. Visit the patient portal and update your contact details in the "Settings" menu to make sure your details are correct.

You can also check that your hospital has the most recent number for you. If we have this, you will then receive confirmations and reminders for your future appointments.

How can I stop receiving text reminders?

You can also personalise the messages you receive by visiting the patient portal and updating your settings.

If you do not have access to the Internet, you can reply STOP to any message that you receive, which will end text message reminders.

I don’t want to receive digital letters or text reminders. Can I opt out?

Yes, you can visit the patient portal at any time and update your settings. Please go to the "Settings" menu and look for the "Go paperless" section. Move the slider under "Go paperless" to "No".

This means you will receive your appointment letters by post in the future, even if you download them online. However, it is important to note that we will be able to communicate with you quicker about your forthcoming appointments if contact is made digitally.

In addition, if you do not click on the link in the text message or email within three days of receiving it, you will automatically receive an appointment letter by post.

I accidentally replied STOP to a text message and have stopped receiving text message reminders. How do I start receiving these again?

If you have accidentally ended text message reminders by replying STOP, you can receive these reminders again by replying UNSTOP to the last message you received from us. You can also personalise your communication preferences by visiting the online portal and updating your settings.

I opted to go paperless but I would like to receive printed letters again – how do I do this?

If you would like to receive printed letters by post again you can do this by logging in to the patient portal, going to the "Settings" menu and turning off paperless letters.

What is on the website link at the end of my text?

The website link will lead you to the patient portal, which will allow you to review your appointment letters and all appointments that have been booked for you. It will also give you access to maps, what to expect and other relevant information for your appointment.

I want to view my digital letter on my laptop or computer. Can I do this?

Yes, patients can access the patient portal from any device and navigate to the "Letters" section. When using this, for additional security, we will send patients a one-time code to their mobile number.

How can I receive email reminders?

You can add your email address via the patient portal, under the "Settings" menu, to receive email reminders as well as text message reminders.

If you cannot get online, please let us know at reception or the next time you speak to us, and we can update it for you.

Does it cost me to reply to the hospital?

Text message replies will be free if you have a text message bundle with your provider. Otherwise, you will be charged at your provider’s standard rate.

Can I receive email notifications instead?

You can receive email notifications instead of a text message by changing your reminder settings in the patient portal.

Is it possible to view all my appointments at the hospital in one place?

Yes, by visiting the patient portal you will be able to view your appointments and add them to your personal calendar.

What if I need to change or cancel my appointment?

When you receive your appointment notification on your mobile device you can respond to the text message with CHANGE to reschedule your appointment or CANCEL if required. If you ask the Trust to cancel your appointment you will be asked to confirm this decision by inputting your date of birth, as the Trust will not send you a further appointment for this clinic.

You can also change or cancel your appointment by following the link on your appointment notification, and managing your appointment through the DrDoctor patient portal. Clicking on your appointment within the patient portal will give you an option to change or cancel your appointment, including the option to give further information to the booking centre (i.e. your availability or your reason for cancelling).

  • Follow the link in your text message or visit the patient portal directly to change it
  • Enter your name, date of birth and postcode on the patient portal. We will send you a one-time code to your phone to make sure it is really you
  • Once online you can request to change or cancel your outpatient appointment under the "Appointments" menu by clicking on the relevant appointment you’d like to change or cancel
  • DrDoctor patient portal

You can also contact the Outpatient Booking team, on the telephone number provided on your outpatient letter, who will take the necessary steps for you.

Please note the direct links from a reminder message expire after seven days which means if you use this link you will be, for additional security, sent a one-time code to the registered patient mobile number before you can validate yourself.

I have a new mobile number which I am currently using so I cannot receive the one-time code to log in – how can I update it?

Either contact the Outpatient Booking Centre to inform them of your new number or you can add the details and 'opt-in' via the DrDoctor patient portal:

What can I do on the online portal?

If you have an appointment the online portal allows you to:

  • view and download appointment letters
  • view the location of your appointment
  • view important clinical information
  • add your appointment to your personal calendar
  • receive appointment reminders

What are the benefits of the online patient portal?

The patient portal ensures that appointment information is never lost and is easily accessible wherever you are and whenever you need it. Going paperless means that you are supporting the NHS to be more environmentally friendly.

What device will I need to access the online patient portal?

You will need to use a smart phone or another digital device (e.g. tablet or computer) that is connected to the Internet.

If you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, please be aware that data charges may apply.

How is my data handled?

To enable us to deliver this service, DrDoctor will have access to your contact information but not detailed information about your health. DrDoctor is accredited to the highest standards set by the NHS for protecting the healthcare information of UK citizens. For more information, see the DrDoctor privacy information.

How do I know it is not a scam?

All of our digital letter invites come from the same mobile phone number: 07860 039 092.

The link to view your digital letter starts with "".

I have received a digital letter but can’t log in to view it even though I am entering the right name, date of birth and postcode

This is usually due to the Trust having the wrong contact details for patients on our patient administration system. Please check we have your correct last name, date of birth, postcode, mobile number and email address. We sync with DrDoctor regularly so these details will work for patients trying to log in soon.

I have logged in but can’t view my letter, I am receiving a "404 error" message

This could be because:

  • the letter is for a family member or relative who is registered with the same phone number or email with the hospital
  • you are a patient at more than one NHS Trust and when you logged in you choose the wrong Trust portal to log in to (DrDoctor support a number of hospital trusts across the country)

I’ve logged into the online patient portal, but I can’t see all my appointments

If your appointment has just been booked, please be aware it can take up to 24 hours for your appointment to appear on the online portal.

Why have I been sent a code to my mobile?

If you are using a device that is not your mobile number we will, for additional security, send a one-time code to the registered patient mobile number which can be validated by last name, date of birth, and postcode. This will also occur if you are using a direct link from a notification message that is more than seven days old. This is standard security practice.

Last reviewed: 24 July 2023