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.

This publication includes four revisions to the publication report, details of which can be found in the accompanying revision statement. The latest revision was made on 01 February 2023.

01 February 2023 Revision:

An error has been identified in the main points on page 8 with the percentage difference between new outpatients waiting at 30 September 2022 compared to the average at the end of quarters in 2019. This figure is 54%, not the 84% previously reported. The accompanying figures are correct.

Main points

New outpatients national standard - 95% of new outpatients waiting no longer than 12 weeks from referral to being seen

During the quarter ending September 2022:

  • 300,449 new outpatients were seen, a slight decrease compared to the previous quarter (300,829).
  • Over two-thirds of the patients seen (68%) had waited 12 weeks or less before being seen, a decrease of 2% since the previous quarter.
  • 96,097 patients (32% of the total seen) had waited over 12 weeks to be seen, an increase of 5,435 (+6%) from 30 June 2022.

At 30 September 2022:

  • 474,600 patients were waiting to be seen. This is an increase of 6% (+25,994) from the previous quarter and is 14% (+59,755) higher than at 30 September 2021. The waiting list is 54% larger than the quarterly average in 2019 prior to the pandemic (308,214).
  • There was an increase in the number waiting over 52 weeks with 37,947 patients (8% of total list size) compared to 35,697 in the previous quarter.
  • Progress against the recent outpatient planned care target showed 2,114 patients were waiting longer than 104 weeks. This is an increase of 8 patients compared to the figure presented in ad-hoc publication on planned care targets, but a decrease of 519 from the previous quarter (-20%).

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

During quarter ending September 2022:

  • 53,474 patients were admitted in the current quarter under this standard, 7% higher than quarter ending June 2022 but 24% lower than the average of 70,599 patients during quarters in 2019.
  • Of those, 30,118 patients (56% of the total admitted) had waited 12 weeks or less, compared to 30,699 (62%) in the previous quarter. This compares to an average of 71% during quarters in 2019.
  • 23,356 patients (44% of the total admitted) waited over 12 weeks to be admitted, an increase from 19,125 (38%) in the previous quarter.

At 30 September 2022:

  • 141,796 patients were waiting to be admitted, which is a small increase since last quarter (+1,951); however, the gap between additions to and removals from the list is decreasing.
  • The number waiting is 35% (+36,594 patients) higher than at 30 September 2021 and 84%R higher than the average at the end of quarters in 2019 (76,955).
  • There was a small increase in the number waiting over 52 weeks with 35,337 patients (25% of total list size) compared to 34,999 in the previous quarter.
  • Progress against the recent inpatient and daycase planned care target showed 7,612 patients waiting longer than 104 weeks. This is a decrease of 48 patients compared to the provisional figure presented at 30 September 2022 in the ad-hoc publication on planned care targets, and a decrease of 2,175 from the previous quarter (-22%).

Background

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. On 30 April 2022, NHSScotland was stood down from emergency footing, however COVID-19 is still affecting provision and availability of services with waves of infection resulting in reduced capacity, for example due to increased staff absence and higher demand from emergency departments and inpatient wards. During these periods there is often a requirement to prioritise and treat only those patients with the most urgent clinical needs.

Further information

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 28 February 2023.

NHS Performs

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.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.waitingtimes@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 01 February 2023
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