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Publication, Part of

Hospital Outpatient Activity 2020-21

National statistics

National Statistics

Current Chapter

Hospital Outpatient Activity 2020-21


This is a report on outpatient activity in English NHS hospitals and English NHS-commissioned activity in the independent sector. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2021. It contains final data and replaces the provisional data that are published each month.

The data are taken from the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data warehouse. HES contains records of all admissions, appointments and attendances for patients admitted to NHS hospitals in England.

This publication includes analysis of just under 102 million outpatient appointments recorded in HES data during the 12 month period. A number of breakdowns are provided including by patient's age, gender, whether the appointment was attended or not and by provider. Note that this report counts the number of outpatient appointments rather than the number of patients.

The purpose of this publication is to inform and support strategic and policy-led processes for the benefit of patient care. This document will also be of interest to researchers, journalists and members of the public interested in NHS hospital activity in England.

Also included within this release is supplementary analysis that has been produced to in addition to the Retrospective Review for Earliest Clinically Appropriate Date wider goals of the Ophthalmology transformation program. It contains a count of Outpatient appointments where the Earliest Clinically Appropriate Date is present and the treatment specialty is ophthalmology. This is displayed by provider and month recorded during the April 2020 to March 2021 period.

Number of Outpatient Appointments

In 2020-21, there were 101.9 million outpatient appointments.

This is a decrease of 18.4 per cent from the previous year, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Number of Outpatient Attendances

In 2020-21, there were 78.4 million outpatient attendances

This is an decrease of 18.7 per cent from the previous year, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Number of Non-attended Outpatient Appointments

The number of appointments where the patient ‘Did Not Attend’ is less than hospital cancellations, but slightly greater than the number of patient cancellations

Did Not Attends and patient cancellations both fell compared to the previous year, but hospital cancellations increased.

Last edited: 10 January 2023 2:45 pm