Publication - FOI/EIR release

Missed medical appointments: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
5 Jul 2018
Missed medical appointments: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00854
Date received: 20 March 2018
Date responded: 4 June 2018

Information requested

  • How many people missed medical appointments in the last 5 years, broken down by health board?

  • How many people missed medical appointments in the last 5 years, broken down by category of health appointment?

  • What action has NHS Scotland taken to ensure that a higher level of medical appointment attendance is reached?

  • What analysis has been taken to evaluate why over 800 000 hospital appointments were missed in 2016 and for any findings that summarise this analysis in terms of factors that cause people to miss medical appointments?

  • Has NHS Scotland looked at a cost/benefit analysis of charging patients for missed appointments?

  • What strategies have already been implemented to tackle the issue of missed medical appointments?

  • What analysis has been undertaken regarding the opportunity cost of appointments missed (i.e. what the doctor could have been doing?)

Response

A number of these questions have also being tabled as Parliamentary Questions and were answered on 18 April 2018. We have therefore applied exemption Section 25 (1) which relates to information which is otherwise accessible. The specific Parliamentary Questions numbers which relates to each specific question is provided in the table below. The answers to these can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

REQUESTED INFORMATION ANSWERED PQ NUMBER
How many people missed medical appointments in the last 5 years, broken down by health board? S5W-15449
How many people missed medical appointments in the last 5 years, broken down by category of health appointment? S5W-15449
What action has NHS Scotland taken to ensure that a higher level of medical appointment attendance is reached? S5W-15438
What analysis has been taken to evaluate why over 800, 000 hospital appointments were missed in 2016 and for any findings that summarise this analysis in terms of factors that cause people to miss medical appointments? S5W-15438
Has NHS Scotland looked at a cost/benefit analysis of charging patients for missed appointments? S5W-15453
What strategies have already been implemented to tackle the issue of missed medical appointments? S5W-15438
What analysis has been undertaken regarding the opportunity cost of appointments missed (i.e. what the doctor could have been doing?) S5W-15451

Information on missed appointments is only collected centrally on the number of patients who missed a first new outpatient appointment – we are therefore not clear where the 800,000 appointments missed a year comes from. The NHS see around 5 million first outpatients and return outpatients appointment each year as well as undertake around half a million planned hospital inpatient and day case operations per year. It is not clear what the 800,000 appointments relate too as it is not clear what the data contains and cannot offer any detailed analysis on the figure quoted.

The Scottish Government has made clear that it is every patient responsibility to inform a hospital if they are unable to attend an appointment whether in an acute hospital of any other medical facility such a primary care. We expect the Service to continuously review the level of missed appointments and to look at ways this can be reduced such as implementing reminder services such as text, emails and social media. They also need to modernise services to meet the changing situation of patient by making appointments more flexible for patients - for example extending clinics into the early evening or at weekends. They also need to incorporate the use of new and emerging technologies such apps, virtual clinic consultations and electronic booking/triage systems. This will enable patients to manage their appointments more appropriately and will maximise better use of healthcare appointments.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG