How to Know if a Clinic is Offering Convenient Appointment Times in the UK

If you have an appointment at a hospital or clinic, remember to bring the appointment details. When you arrive, please go to the mentioned department. Telemedicine, which allows appointments by phone or video between a patient and their health professional, provides both health and convenience benefits. More and more healthcare providers are now offering “care for patients by computer and smartphone”.

A study conducted in the United States (60%) on attending a pediatric dental clinic serving a disadvantaged population reported that 85% or more of patients traveled (1 hour) and did not show up for their scheduled appointment. For example, Ogilvie and Mayhew151 found that making appointments for school-age children in schools rather than at clinics was an effective way to increase attendance for parents and children. A study in the United Kingdom conducted in a dental clinic98 revealed that significantly more patients did not attend their consultations with non-specialized dentists and a similar pattern was observed at the clinical level, since the lack of assistance was low in clinics with specialized staff, but high in clinics with non-specialized staff, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. For example, in a UK study129 conducted in a genitourinary clinic, no patient reported that the clinic's opening hours prevented their attendance.

Similarly, a qualitative study101 explored the reasons for healthcare behavior from the patient's point of view in an outpatient diabetes clinic for young adults in the United Kingdom. These characteristics are likely to be grouped within certain clinical populations, particularly clinics that care for people with mental illnesses and older populations. The authors concluded that, while SMS appointment reminders appear to be a potentially useful and cost-effective method for improving attendance rates at ambulatory psychiatric clinics, it is “unlikely that psychiatric clinics will offer results as impressive as those seen in other settings.” In addition, Waller and Hodgkin163 examined care patterns in nine general medicine clinics in the United Kingdom and reported that women were disproportionately represented in the group of patients who lived frequently (defined as missing an appointment five or more times a year). Foley and O'Neill98, in their study of a dental clinic in the United Kingdom, reported that there was a significant cohort of patients who attended as occasional patients with dental pain or facial swelling and who, after receiving symptomatic relief from their symptoms, did not attend the subsequent consultations that are often booked with non-specialized dentists.

When looking for convenient appointment times at a particular clinic in the UK, it is important to consider factors such as travel time, availability of specialized staff, opening hours, and patient preferences. It is also important to remember that some clinics may offer telemedicine services which can provide additional convenience. Additionally, SMS appointment reminders may be useful for improving attendance rates at ambulatory psychiatric clinics.