Determinants of Patient Waiting Time in the General Outpatient Department of a Tertiary Health Institution in North Western Nigeria
Background: The amount of time a patient waits to be seen is one factor which affects utilization of healthcare services. Patients perceive long waiting times as barrier to actually obtaining services and keeping patients waiting unnecessarily can be a cause of stress for both patient and doctor.
Aim: This study was aimed at assessing the determinants of patients’ waiting time in the general outpatient department (GOPD) of a tertiary health institution in northern Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods: This descriptive cross‑sectional study was carried out among new patients attending the GOPD of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, North Western Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit information from 100 patients who were recruited into the study using a convenience sampling method. Data collected were entered and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 17; Chi‑square test was used to compare differences between proportions with the level of statistical significance set at 5% (P < 0.05).
Results: Sixty‑one percent (59/96) of the respondents waited for 90‑180 min in the clinic, whereas 36.1% (35/96) of the patients spent less than 5 min with the doctor in the consulting room. The commonest reason for the long waiting time in the GOPD was the large number of patients with few healthcare workers.
Conclusion: There is an urgent need to increase the number of health workers in the GOPDs which serves as the gate way to the hospital if the aims of the Millennium Development Goals are to be realized.
Keywords: General outpatient department, Patients, Waiting time