Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1991 November; 84(11): 662–663.
PMCID: PMC1295469

Can outpatient non-attendance be predicted from the referral letter? An audit of default at neurology clinics.


Data obtained from new patient referral letters to regional and peripheral neurology clinics were studied prospectively over a 6-month period in an attempt to determine factors predicting non-attendance. Attendance at peripheral clinics was significantly better, confirming their value. At regional clinics, factors associated with non-attendance were male sex, patient age less than 50 years, urban home address, referral from Accident and Emergency Departments, symptom duration less than 12 months, and wait for appointment more than 2 months. Of these, referral source and waiting time were identified as factors which could be modified, confirming that this analysis of referral letters was a useful exercise.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (353K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Scobie IN, Rafferty AB, Franks PC, Sönksen PH. Why patients were lost from follow-up at an urban diabetic clinic. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983 Jan 15;286(6360):189–190. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smith EO, Curb JD, Hardy RJ, Hawkins CM, Tyroler HA. Clinic attendance in the hypertension detection and follow-up program. Hypertension. 1982 Sep-Oct;4(5):710–715. [PubMed]
  • Leese AM, Wilson JA, Murray JA. A survey of the non-attendance rate at the ENT clinic of a district general hospital. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1986 Feb;11(1):37–40. [PubMed]
  • Carpenter PJ, Morrow GR, Del Gaudio AC, Ritzler BA. Who keeps the first outpatient appointment? Am J Psychiatry. 1981 Jan;138(1):102–105. [PubMed]
  • Frankel S, Farrow A, West R. Non-attendance or non-invitation? A case-control study of failed outpatient appointments. BMJ. 1989 May 20;298(6684):1343–1345. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Robin A. Rationing out-patients: a defence of the waiting list. Br J Psychiatry. 1976 Aug;129:138–141. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press