Non-attendance at psychological therapy appointments

Binnie, James and Boden, Zoë (2016). Non-attendance at psychological therapy appointments. Mental Health Review Journal, 21(3) pp. 231–248.



Purpose – Research demonstrates that non-attendance at healthcare appointments is a waste of scarce resources; leading to reduced productivity, increased costs, disadvantaged patients through increased waiting times and demoralised staff. The purpose of this paper is to investigate non-attendance and implemented interventions to improve practice.
Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods service audit took place in a primary care psychological therapies service. Existing service guidelines and reporting systems were reviewed. A cross-sectional design was used to compare a year’s cohort of completers of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (n = 140) and drop-outs (n = 61).
Findings – Findings suggested contrasting guidelines and clinically inaccurate reporting systems. The overall service did not attend (DNA) rate was 8.9 per cent; well below rates suggested in the literature. The drop-out rate from CBT was 17 per cent. The most influential factor associated with CBT drop-out was the level of depression. The level of anxiety, risk ratings and deprivation scores were also different between completers and drop-outs. The main reasons given for non-attendance were forgetting, being too unwell to attend, having other priorities, or dissatisfaction with the service; again these findings were consistent with prior research.
Originality/value – A range of recommendations for practice are made, many of which were implemented with an associated reduction in the DNA rate

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions