The growing realisation that health care resources are limited has led to increasing concern about the wastage caused by the failure of patients to keep their psychiatric appointments. Generally, non-attendance following psychiatric referral is particularly high (e.g. Baekland & Lundwall, 1975), although in the north-east of Scotland the rate is roughly similar to those reported by other specialties (Alexander & Hillis, 1989). However, little effort has been made to elicit the views of non-attenders themselves or to consider what aspects of the referral system may contribute to this failure to attend.
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