Out-patients: Attendance

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Dobbs Lord Dobbs Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are conducting research into the (1) causes, and (2) costs of missed appointments in the NHS; and if so, when they expect to publish the results of that research.

Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department is not currently conducting research into causes, and costs of missed appointments in the National Health Service.

We know, however, that patients may miss appointments for a number of reasons, including mental health and social circumstances. Patients are encouraged to cancel appointments, so they can be used by someone else. New technologies support providers in reminding patients of their forthcoming appointments to reduce missed appointments, for example, the use of text message reminder systems.

NHS Digital publishes did not attend (DNAs) for outpatient appointments annually. Data is available from 2006-07 to 2017-18. Data shows a year on year decrease in the percentage of DNAs. The equivalent data for the number of missed appointments in general practice is not available.

Information surrounding the cost of missed appointments is not collected centrally.

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