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Almost 7 million NHS outpatient appointments missed

Caroline White

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

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NHS patients missed nearly 6.7 million outpatient appointments in 2009/10, with men and people in their 20s most likely not to turn up, show new figures from the NHS Information Centre.

This reflects an increase on the previous year’s figures, when just under six million appointments were missed, although more appointments were made in 2009/10.

Hospital Outpatient Activity 2009-10 shows that men missed almost one in ten (9% or 3.1 million) of their appointments, while women did not turn up for 3.6 million (over 7%) of theirs.

When grouped by age, 1 million appointments were recorded as “did not attend” among those aged 20 to 29—the highest number of any age group. There was one DNA for every seven appointments attended among 20 to 29 year olds compared with one DNA for every 18 appointments attended by 70 to 79 year olds.

In 2009/10 the total number of outpatient appointments increased by 9.3 million (12.5%) over the previous year to reach nearly 84.2 million. The percentage of these appointments recorded as DNAs dropped slightly from 8% to 7.9%.

One in ten patients in NHS London did not make their scheduled appointment—the highest DNA rate in England. In contrast, patients in the East of England strategic health authority had the lowest DNA rate at 6.5%.

Hospitals cancelled just under 5 million (5.8%) appointments in 2009/10, compared with 3.9 million (5.2%) the previous year.

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