Causes, impacts and possible mitigation of non-attendance of appointments within the National Health Service: a literature review

Wilson, Rebecca ORCID logoORCID: and Winnard, Yvette (2022) Causes, impacts and possible mitigation of non-attendance of appointments within the National Health Service: a literature review. Journal of Health Organization and Management. ISSN 1477-7266

Published Version
Available under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (324kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Purpose Missed appointments within the National Health Service (NHS) are a drain on resources, associated with not only considerable time and cost implications, but also sub-optimal health outcomes. This literature review aims to explore non-attendance within the NHS in relation to causes, impacts and possible mitigation of negative effects of missed appointments. Design/methodology/approach MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus and PubMed were searched with a date range of 2016–2021. Databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles published in English addressing non-attendance of adults within the NHS. Studies were excluded if they were theoretical papers, dissertations or research concerning patients aged under 18. A total of 21 articles met the inclusion criteria and were selected for analysis. Findings The results indicate a significant association of non-attendance and poor health outcomes. Patients from a lower socioeconomic status, adults aged over 85 and those with multiple co-morbidities are more likely to miss appointments. The most commonly reported patient-centred reasons for failing to attend were forgetfulness, transportation difficulties, and family commitments. Practice-specific reasons were cited as inefficiencies of the appointment booking system, failure of traditional reminders and inconvenient timings. Interventions included text reminder services, the inclusion of costs within reminders and enhanced patient involvement with the booking process. Originality/value Non-attendance is complex, and to secure maximum attendance, targeted interventions are required by healthcare facilities to ensure patient needs are met. The adaption of scheduling systems and healthcare services can assist in reducing DNA rates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Health Policy & Services, Health Care Sciences & Services, Non-attendance, Healthcare, National health service, NHS, Did not attend, DNA, Missed appointment, TEXT MESSAGE REMINDERS, MISSED APPOINTMENTS, GENERAL-PRACTICE, PRIMARY-CARE, PERSPECTIVES, REASONS, CANCER, VIEWS
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2022 16:22
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2022 16:22

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item