Rheumatology patient preferences for timing and location of out-patient clinics

KM Douglas, T Potter, Gareth Treharne, H Obrenonic, ED Hale, A Pace, D Mitton, N Erb, AJ Whallett, JP Delamere, George Kitas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. To determine the preferences of rheumatology patients for the time and location of their out-patient appointments. Methods. All patients attending the rheumatology out-patient services at Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust over a 2-week period were asked to complete a purpose-designed, scannable, previously piloted, self-administered questionnaire. Results. Four hundred and nineteen patients completed questionnaires (response rate 87%). Age ranged from 16 to 92 yr; 38% of responders were over 65 yr, 72% were female, 57% had an inflammatory arthritis, 20% had a connective tissue disease, 8% had degenerative joint disease and 15% had another diagnosis; 29% were employed, 51% retired and 20% unemployed. Fewer than 1% of patients would like to be seen at community general practice centres (99.3% would prefer a hospital site). Proximity to their home was the main determinant of hospital choice. Monday was the most popular day for appointments, and days from Tuesday to Friday received equal rankings. Only 0.5% of patients would choose a weekend clinic. Fifty-eight per cent of patients would prefer morning appointments, 24% afternoon appointments and 2% evening appointments; 16% did not mind. Only being employed predicted out-of-hours preference. Conclusions. In this predominantly suburban, industrialized area, rheumatology out-patients prefer to be seen in the hospital rather than primary care environment, ideally close to their home, with appointments in the morning and on a weekday. These results may be generalizable to other districts and other chronic disease states, but we suggest that similar surveys become part of routine service provision and inform current and future planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-82
Number of pages3
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • proximity
  • blood tests
  • patient preferences
  • out-patient clinics
  • timing


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