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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 1999 Autumn;45(3):198-206.

Patients who miss initial appointments in community psychiatry? A Spanish community analysis.

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  • 1Unidad Docente de Psiquiatría, Universitat de Valencia, Centro de Salud Mental de Trinitat, Spain.



To identify factors that predict which patients, when referred by their GP, make a first appointment at a Mental Health Centre and then fail to attend.


Sequential observational study in which data was collected for one year on all the people (1311) with an arranged date for an initial appointment at an urban Community Mental Health Centre.


Approximately 25% of patients who request an initial appointment fail to attend. The variables that predict non-attendance are: the lack of a telephone number for contact, the time lapse before the appointment, and when drug-addiction is the reason for requesting the appointment. One variable that results in a specific kind of behaviour is the timing of the initial appointment, since males and females tend to miss at different times. We also found that missing the appointment followed a seasonal pattern.


In order to optimise the service, it is necessary to discover the proportion of probable misses, and aim to arrange the appointment with the shortest possible time lapse and to take into consideration the sex of the patient when fixing the time of the interview.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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