About this release
This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) relates to the length of time patients wait to be seen as a new outpatient or admitted for treatment as an inpatient or day case. The latest statistics represent all patients covered by the national standards for these stages of treatment. Please note that individual patients are counted more than once if they are waiting to attend more than one scheduled hospital appointment or admission, so the official statistics shown here and in previous publications do not reflect the actual number of individuals involved. In relation to this, the terminology across this and other waiting times publications has been changed to prevent misinterpretation of statistics. Please refer to the full report for further detail.
New outpatient national standard - 95% of new outpatients wait no longer than 12 weeks from referral to being seen. In addition, the latest planned care target aimed to eliminate waits over 52 weeks for most specialties by the end of March 2023.
During the quarter ending March 2023:
- 319,514 waits for a new outpatient appointment were completed when the patient involved was seen at their outpatient clinic. This is an increase of 9,352 (+3%) new outpatient attendances from the previous quarter. In comparison to the same period in 2022, the number of attendances has increased by 4.8%.
- Of these waits, 201,112 (62.9%) were completed in 12 weeks or less, down from 202,237 (65.2%) for the previous quarter. The number of waits over 12 weeks increased from 107,925 to 118,402 during the same period.
At 31 March 2023:
- There were 479,725 patient waits that were still ongoing, a slight increase (+0.5%; +2,617) compared to the end of the previous quarter. There has been an upward trend in this statistic since COVID-19 began to impact on planned care in March 2020 but the rate of growth has been slower in recent quarters. Nevertheless, the total waiting list size is now 14.5% higher than at the same date last year and 87% (+223,184) higher than at 31 March 2020.
- In relation to the latest target to eradicate the number of new outpatients waiting over one year to be seen in most specialties by the end of March 2023, there were 31,498 waits longer than 52 weeks. As part of the continued effort to reduce the number of patients experiencing long waits, there were 21,093 completed waits over 52 weeks during the quarter, accounting for 6.6% of all attendances. This compares to 20,464 (also 6.6%) during the previous quarter.
Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) – Following the decision to treat, all eligible patients should wait no longer than 12 weeks for treatment as an inpatient or day case. In addition, the first planned care target aimed to eliminate waits over 104 weeks for most specialties by the end of September 2022.
During quarter ending March 2023:
- 57,113 patient waits under this guarantee ended when the patient involved was admitted as an inpatient or day case for their intended treatment. This is an increase of 1.8% compared to quarter ending 31 December 2022 and is 7% higher than activity reported during the same quarter last year.
- Of these waits, 32,165 (56.3%) were completed in 12 weeks or less, 266 more than in the previous quarter. 24,948 waits were over 12 weeks, 762 more than in the previous quarter.
At 31 March 2023:
- There were 147,241 waits for treatment that were still ongoing, a slight increase of 2,724 (+1.9%) compared to the end of the previous quarter. The rate of growth in the waiting list size has slowed down in recent quarters but is 12.6% higher than at the same date last year and is 89.8% higher than the average at the end of quarters in 2019 (+69,652), prior to when the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact on planned care services.
- There were 6,985 ongoing waits longer than 104 weeks for inpatient or day case treatment, a reduction of 322 since the target date of 31 September 2022. As part of the continued effort to reduce the number of patients experiencing long waits, there were 1,846 admissions during the latest quarter for patients that had waited over 104 weeks to be treated, accounting for 3.2% of all activity.
Documents relating to waiting times, including the TTG are available via the waiting times section of the website (external website).
These statistics continue to be affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Open data from this publication are available from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data platform.
The next release of this publication will be 5 September 2023.
A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs (external website). NHS Performs is a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS Boards within NHSScotland are performing.
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