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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Hospital Outpatient Activity - 2008-09

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Organisations, Hospital Trusts
Date Range:
01 Apr 2008 to 31 Mar 2009


For the 2008-09 financial year, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) has collected more than 74 million records detailing outpatient appointments delivered by NHS hospitals in England or performed in the independent sector and commissioned by the English NHS.  The latest HES data are available via the internet from the Freely available data section of the HESonline website [].

The outpatients' data set contains individual records for all outpatient appointments occurring in England including details such as the type of attendance ie whether it was a first or follow up attendance or the main specialty ie the specialty under which the consultant with prime responsibility for the patient is registered.

Key Facts

• In 2008-09, there were around 18.7 million first outpatient attendances. Of these 10.1 million resulted from GP referral, 3.4 million from other consultants, 1.1 million from referral from accident & emergency and the remainder from other sources.
• For 72 per cent of first attendances, the patient was referred to this appointment for advice/consultation, with only 6 per cent referred for a specific procedure. The reason for the referral of the remaining first attendances was unknown or unstated.
• Of the 18.7 million first outpatient attendances, around 5.6 million resulted in the patient being discharged from the consultant's care, 12.6 million were referred for another appointment, with the outcome unknown for the remaining 0.5 million attendances.
• There were 41.8 million subsequent outpatient attendances with 6.8 million of these occurring in the 65 to 74 age group.
• Trauma and orthopaedics was the specialty with the highest proportion of first attendances; accounting for 13 per cent of attendances in 2008-09.
• Overall, there was a ratio of 2.2 outpatient follow up attendances to every first attendance. These ratios varied by age, with a maximum of 2.8 follow up outpatient attendances for every first attendance for the 75 to 84 age group.


Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:21 pm