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An investigation into why patients do not attend for out-patient radiology appointments

By R Lyon and Pauline Reeves


Patients who do not attend (DNA) for out-patient hospital appointments cause delays in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of their own, and other patient's, illnesses, with potentially hazardous consequences. This also impacts upon waiting lists. Failure to attend is viewed as a specific type of non-compliance and social cognition theories have been applied to previous studies in an attempt to uncover the reasons why patients choose not to keep their appointments. Methods A case-control study was conducted throughout the X-ray departments of a District General type of NHS Trust, using telephone interview questionnaires based on the Health Belief Model, in an attempt to identify any significant differences between attenders and non-attenders, so that likely non-attenders could be targeted. Results Principal reasons for non-attendance were that the patient forgot or that they did not receive their appointment. The results differed from previous research, in that specific health beliefs were not the primary reasons for non-attendance. Departments that gave patients the opportunity to arrange their appointments for a mutually convenient time had exceptionally low DNA rates, as did those which had rigorous confirmation systems in place. Keywords: Radiology; Appointments; Out-patients; Waiting times; Health Belief Model; Do not attend; Semistructured research; Non-attenders; Outpatient X-ray appointment

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.radi.2005.09.003
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