Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Publication, Part of

Hospital Outpatient Activity 2020-21

National statistics

National Statistics

Summary Report - Attendances

Summary of outpatient appointments and attendances, 2010-11 - 2020-21

In 2020-21 there were 101.9 million outpatient appointments, of which 78.4 million were attended by patients.

This represents an 18.4 per cent decrease in appointments and an 18.7 per cent decrease in attendances from 2019-20.

The drop in activity seen in 2020-21 coincides with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first lockdown which began in March 2020.

Summary of outpatient appointments and attendances by percentage, 2010-11 - 2020-21

Attendances, whether first or subsequent, as a proportion of total appointments, have decreased over the period from 79.8 per cent in 2010-11 to 77.0 per cent in 2020-21.

Summary of outpatient appointments for selected attendance types, 2010-11 - 2020-21

In 2020-21 the number of 'Patient Cancellations' fell below the number of appointments where the patient 'Did not attend' for the first time since 2015-16. The number of 'Hospital Cancellations' continues to be the highest of these categories.

Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, 'Did not attend's fell by just over 2 million (26.7 per cent) while Patient Cancellations fell by 4.8 million (51.0 per cent).  However Hospital Cancellations increased by 1.8 million (16.2 per cent).

Summary of percentages of outpatient appointments by attendance type, 2010-11 - 2020-21

The proportion of attended appointments has decreased over the period from 79.8 per cent in 2010-11 to 77.0 per cent in 2020-21.

The proportion of appointments which were not attended by the patient without notice (Did not attend) declined from 7.8 per cent in 2010-11 to 5.5 per cent in 2020-21, with the largest decline occurring during the past year.

During the same period the proportion of appointments that were cancelled by either the patient or the hospital increased from 12.0 per cent to 16.9 per cent.

Last edited: 10 January 2023 2:45 pm