OBJECTIVE: To determine the factors influencing non-attendance with clinic appointments in diabetic patients at a Gauteng Hospital in
SETTING: Two diabetes clinics situated at a secondary-level hospital, that offer more specialised outpatient care to adult patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
DESIGN: Between 21 November 2007 and 12 March 2008, a convenience sample of consecutive non-attending diabetic patients (n = 76) was prospectively recruited for the study. A survey of the non-attending patients was conducted, using two data collection methods, namely
face-to-face interviews and telephone interviews. Patient demographics, reasons for non-attendance, perceived severity of diabetes, and perceived encouragement from others to attend were investigated. The characteristics of the non-attending patients and the reasons for
non-attendance were explored.
RESULTS: Of the 520 patients who were booked during the study period, 35% were not compliant with their clinic visit. The mean age of the
patients was 51 years (range 18–85). All patients perceived diabetes to be a serious disease. Of the interviewed patients, 83% perceived their
health to be either good or excellent, and 95% claimed that a clinic visit assisted them in managing their diabetes. Only 20% of the patients
diarised their appointment dates, while the rest simply used the appointment card given by the clinic. Patients had various reasons for not
complying with their clinic appointments, with forgetting being the most frequently dominant response (22%).
CONCLUSION: Forgetfulness, which was found to be the major cause of non-attendance, can easily be addressed in ensuring the attendance of scheduled clinic visits.