About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an updated range of statistics on different aspects of hospital care, sourced from hospital administration systems across Scotland. These include information on trends in outpatient, inpatient and day case activity, numbers of medical diagnoses, operations, emergency admissions and beds statistics. Data presented for 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 are provisional and subject to change in future publications as submissions may be updated to reflect a more accurate and complete set of data from NHS boards.

Main points

Please note that this release includes Scotland going into emergency measures due to COVID-19, which is impacting on the volume of hospital activity and trends observed. For example, inpatient, day case and outpatient activity all reduced by 13% when comparing financial year 2018/19 (pre-pandemic) to 2021/22. However, activity levels have generally been recovering from July 2020 onwards but remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Hospital admissions

Number of people admitted to Scottish hospitals, 2021/22 (provisional)

  • Around 0.6 million Scottish residents (one in nine of the population) were admitted to hospital in 2021/22. Of these, three out of ten patients (31%) had more than one admission.
  • There were just under 1.1 million admissions into hospital in 2021/22 – a 22% increase compared to last year (2020/21) and a 14% decrease compared to five years ago (2016/17).
  • In 2021/22, there were around 0.9 million main procedures performed within the acute hospital care setting – a 33% increase on last year (2020/21) and a 21% decrease over the last four years (2017/18).


  • The average number of available hospital beds in Scotland has generally been decreasing over the years. In 2021/22, the average number of available staffed beds for acute specialties was 13,323 – a 3.6% increase on last year (2020/21) and a 2.4% decrease when compared to five years ago (2016/17). The percentage occupancy for acute specialties rose from 74.8% in 2020/21 to 84.2% in 2021/22.


  • Around 0.9 million Scottish residents (one in six of the population) visited an outpatient department in 2021/22 as a new outpatient.
  • Overall, there were around 3.7 million total outpatient attendances (new and return/follow-up) in 2021/22 ­– a 23% increase on last year (2020/21) and a 17% decrease compared to five years ago (2016/17). There were around 1.2 million new attendances and over 2.5 million return attendances. In 2021/22, 8.6% (113,966) of new outpatient appointments were not kept without prior notification (‘Did Not Attends’) – slightly higher than last year (2020/21) but lower than five years ago (2016/17) at 7.8% and 9.5%, respectively.

Data quality

There are known issues with the quality of data presented, such as the outpatient completeness. For more information please see the data issues and completeness document that 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 in 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.

The next release of this publication will be in September 2023.

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

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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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