GP surgeries in Southwark Primary Care trust are using iPlato text messaging to invite patients for MMR jabs and to alert parents to recent measles outbreaks in local schools.

The initiative has been launched in response to concern about the rising number of measles cases reported in Britain over the past few months.

In common with other primary care trusts, Southwark PCT wants to make sure that everybody under the age of 18 has received both doses of the MMR jab. The DH is running a national catch-up programme for young people who have missed one or both doses.

As part of its campaign, Southwark PCT is using iPlato Patient Care Messaging to send text messages to the parents of children under 16, inviting them to contact their surgery to make an appointment. It is also using the platform to text 16-18 year olds who have not been vaccinated. They can text back for information on local walk-in centres.

Maxine Grimes, primary care information officer at the PCT, said the technology was a “quick and successful method for engaging with patients.”

The latest move is part of a wider programme of using text messaging to support public health initiatives in the London borough. iPlato is already being used by surgeries to support smoking cessation initiatives and healthcare data collection. A number of other primary care trusts are also using iPlato for appointment reminders.