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Male DNA's letting down health services

Men are more likely to miss appointments than women according to the latest survey of hospital outpatients.

Men did not attend nearly 9% (3.1 million) of their appointments, while women did not attend nearly 7.3% (3.6 million).

NHS Information Centre CEO Tim Straughan said: 'Policymakers and managers are likely to view its results with interest, in particular the percentage of appointments which go unattended. It appears men are less likely than women to attend their appointments.'

The Hospital Outpatient Activity 2009-10 also compared age groups. The highest number of appointments recorded as 'DNA' (did not attend) was among 20 to 29-year-olds (1 million), where there was one DNA for every seven appointments attended. This compares to one DNA for every 18 appointments attended by 70 to 79-year-olds (600,000).

Overall, however, it appears that the number of DNA's may be falling. The total number of outpatient appointments increased by 9.3 million (12.5%) in 2009/10 compared with 2008/09 reaching nearly 84.2 million. The percentage of these appointments recorded as DNAs dropped slightly during the same period from 8% to 7.9%.

Patients in London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had the highest DNA rate in England at 10.1%, while patients in East of England SHA had the lowest at 6.5%.

Hospitals cancelled more appointments than last year: 4.9 million (5.8%) appointments in 2009/10, compared to 3.9 million (5.2%) the previous year.

MHF CEO Peter Baker commented: 'We need to know more about the reasons why men are more likely not to turn up for appointments - is it because they find it harder to take time off work, for example, or because they dislike the long waiting times? It would also be interesting to know if there's any link between DNAs and particular health problems. Once we understand the underlying story better, it might be possible to do something about it.'

Page created on December 14th, 2010

Page updated on December 14th, 2010