About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update on a range of statistics on various 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, procedures, emergency admissions and beds statistics. Data presented for 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 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. This release includes the NHS Golden Jubilee (GJ) National Treatment Centre (NTC) (external website) activity for the first time.

Main points

Hospital admissions

Image caption Number of people admitted to Scottish hospitals, 2022/23 (provisional)
  • Around 0.6 million Scottish residents (one in nine of the population) were admitted to hospital in 2022/23. Of these, three out of ten patients (31%) had more than one admission.
  • There were around 1.1 million admissions into hospital in 2022/23 – a 3% increase compared to last year (2021/22) and a 9% decrease compared to five years ago (2017/18).
  • The average length of stay has been increasing. In 2022/23, the average length of stay for inpatients was 7.1 days compared to 6.4 days last year (2021/22). Patients admitted as emergencies generally stay longer than elective hospital admissions. In 2022/23, the average length of stay was 3.6 days for elective inpatients and 7.6 days for emergency inpatients.
  • In 2022/23, there were around 1 million main procedures performed within the acute hospital care setting – a 6% increase on last year (2021/22) and a 17% decrease compared to four years ago (2018/19). NHS GJ NTC performed 12,773 ophthalmology procedures (predominantly cataracts) in 2022/23.

Beds

  • Bed numbers and percentage occupancy have been increasing in recent years. In 2022/23, the average number of available staffed beds for acute specialties was 13,695 – a 3% increase on last year (2021/22) and a 2% increase compared to five years ago (2017/18). The percentage occupancy for acute specialties rose from 84.4% in 2021/22 to 88.1% in 2022/23.

Outpatients

  • Nearly 1 million Scottish residents (one in six of the population) visited an outpatient department in 2022/23 as a new outpatient.
  • There were around 3.9 million total outpatient attendances (over 1.2 million new and around 2.7 million return attendances) in 2022/23 – a 5% increase on last year (2021/22) and an 8% decrease compared to five years ago (2017/18).

Data quality

There are known issues with the quality of data presented. For more information, please see the data issues and completeness document that accompanies this publication.

Background

The volume of hospital activity and trends observed continue to be impacted post-pandemic and during the recovery phase. For example, inpatient and day case activity and outpatient activity have reduced by 10% and 8%, respectively, when comparing financial year 2018/19 (pre-pandemic) to 2022/23. However, activity levels have generally been recovering from July 2020 onwards, but are still not up to pre-pandemic levels.

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.

Data from this publication are also available on the Scottish Health and Social Care Open platform (external website).

The next release of this publication will be in September 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Kirsty Anderson at 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: 20 November 2023
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