About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland reports on the waiting times for people accessing drug and alcohol treatment services between April and June 2020. It contains information on the number of people seen for treatment, types of treatment accessed, and length of time waited. Additional information is included for demographic information relating to treatments started during the last financial year (April 2019 to March 2020).

The Scottish Government set a standard that 90% of people referred for help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery.

Main points

  • Between April and June 2020, 95.3% of the 7,195 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment waited 3 weeks or less, an increase from the same quarter in the previous year (93.4%), which may be in part attributable to a fall in the number of completed waits during the quarter (10,560 in April to June 2019).
Image caption People Starting Drug and Alcohol treatment in Scotland April – June 2020: Percentage waited 3 weeks or less, by NHS Board
People Starting Drug and Alcohol treatment in Scotland April – June 2020: Percentage waited 3 weeks or less, by NHS Board
  • For the 3,805 people seeking alcohol treatment, 95.1% waited 3 weeks or less. 95.5% of the 3,390 people seeking drug treatment waited 3 weeks or less.
  • For the 1,631 people who were still waiting to start drug or alcohol treatment at the end of the quarter, 6.9% had been waiting for more than 6 weeks
  • 8% of the 511 people in prison who started their first drug or alcohol treatment between April and June 2020 waited 3 weeks or less.
  • The numbers of people whose wait was completed immediately prior to and during the COVID-19 lockdown period reduced by up to half compared with the same period last year.
Image caption Number of Completed Waits for Drug & Alcohol in Scotland January 2019 – June 2020
Number of Completed Waits for Drug & Alcohol in Scotland January 2019 – June 2020

Background

It should be noted that the statistics released for this reporting period are in part affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is notable from mid-March and in particular, from 23 March when Scotland entered a period of ‘lockdown’. These measures will have affected the number of referrals, service provision, and delivery of treatment.

The data in this publication is a snapshot of a dynamic database. This means that data for previous quarters may not be the same as found in previous publications for the same time period. Updated data for the most recent quarter is provisional and may be revised in future publications.

Further information

Find out more in the full report. The data from this publication is available to download from our web page. Open data is available from the Scottish Health and Social Care open data portal (external website). Other relevant publications can be found on the drugs and alcohol use pages of the website (external website).

The Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) provides information on various aspects of drug use in Scotland: ScotPHO drug misuse section (external website).

The next release of this publication will be 22 December 2020.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.datwt@phs.scot.

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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: 14 July 2021
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