About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update on a range of statistics on different aspects of hospital care, sourced from hospital administration systems across Scotland. The full report includes information on trends in outpatient, inpatient and day case activity; numbers of medical diagnoses and operations; emergency admissions; and beds statistics. Data presented for 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 are provisional and subject to change in future publications as submissions may be updated to reflect a more accurate complete set of data from NHS Boards.

Please note that this release includes the first month of Scotland going into emergency measures due to COVID-19, which will impact on the volume of hospital activity and trends observed.

Main points

Hospital Admissions

Image caption Number of People Admitted to Scottish Hospitals, 2019/20
  • Around 691,000 Scottish residents (one in eight of the population) were admitted to hospital in 2019/20. Of these, more than two thirds (69%) had a single admission to hospital with three out of ten patients having more than one admission.
  • There were just over 1.2 million admissions to hospital in 2019/20; a decrease (1%) compared to last year (2018/19) and a 2% decrease compared to five years ago (2014/15).
  • In 2019/20 there were just under 1.2 million total main procedures performed within the acute hospital care setting; a 4% decrease on last year (2018/19), with a 7% decrease in the last four years (2015/16).


  • The average number of available hospital beds in Scotland has generally been decreasing over the years. In 2019/20, the average available staffed beds for acute specialties was 13,156; a small 0.5% increase on last year (2018/19) and a 6% reduction when compared to five years ago (2014/15). The percentage occupancy has remained relatively stable over the years. In 2019/20, the percentage occupancy for acute specialties was 86.7%.


  • Around 1.1 million Scottish residents (one in five of the population) visited an outpatient department in 2019/20 as a new outpatient.
  • Overall there were around 4.2 million total outpatient attendances (new and return/follow-up) in 2019/20; a 2% decrease on last year (2018/19), with a 7% reduction in the last five years (2014/15). The number of new outpatient attendances was over 1.4 million whilst the number of return attendances was around 2.8 million. 8.2% (127,093) of new outpatient appointments were not kept without prior notification (‘Did Not Attends’).

Data quality

There are known issues with the quality of data presented such as the inpatient and daycase completeness. For more information please see the data issues and completeness document which accompanies this publication.


Definitions of outpatients, admissions and available staffed beds are available within the Glossary Section of the full report. Further details are also available the Health and Social Care Data Dictionary (external website).

Further information

Disclosure control methods have been applied to the data in order to protect patient confidentiality, therefore some figures on total counts may not be additive.

Open Data from this publication is available to download from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data Portal (external website).

The next release of this publication will be in August 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.qualityindicators@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: 21 March 2024
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