The number of outpatient appointments increased by 4.5 per cent last year, according to NHS Information Centre figures.

Hospital outpatient activity data show there were 88 million outpatient appointments last year, up from 84 million in 2009-10. Only four-fifths of these appointments were attended.

The number of appointments cancelled by hospitals rose by 7 per cent, with the total reaching 5,199,000.

The number of patients cancelling their appointments rose by 10 per cent to 5,338,000. Meanwhile, 6.9 million appointments (8 per cent) were not attended.

Patients in their sixties and seventies were found to have the highest number of appointments (11 million and 10.3 million respectively). They had the lowest number of non-attendances (0.66 million and 0.57 million) compared to other patient groups. 

First appointments accounted for 21.3 million attendances, of which 11.2 million (52.6 per cent) were referred from a GP.

The region with the highest attendance rate was West Midlands (85.3 per cent), while the East Midlands had the lowest rate (72.2 per cent).