Non-attendance at out-patient clinics, although common, has received relatively little attention. A prospective study was undertaken to assess the extent of the problem of non-attendances of newly referred dermatological patients in a single dermatological out-patient clinic over a 12-month period. The overall non-attendance rate was found to be 19%. There were no apparent significant differences between the groups of attending and non-attending patients when compared statistically. A survey of those patients who failed to attend suggested that inadequate communication between the hospital and patients (17%) and patients forgetting their appointment date (23%) may be factors that are amenable to administrative changes.