About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland 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.

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 30 June 2022:

  • 301,943 patients were seen under this standard (-2.3%, -6,999 patients from the previous quarter). This is the first quarter on quarter decrease since quarter ending 30 June 2020. The latest figure remains 17.8% lower than the average of 367,288 patients seen during quarters in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic.
  • There was a slight increase in the number of patients who had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less with 211,532 patients seen compared to 210,335 in the previous quarter.

At 30 June 2022:

  • 451,020 patients were waiting to be seen which is 7.1% (+29,766) higher than at the end of the previous quarter and 46.4% (+308,169) higher than the pre-pandemic average.
  • 221,350 (49.1%) had been waiting 12 weeks or less, down from 49.7% (209,566) at 31 March 2022 and remains markedly down on the 2019 average (73.4%, 226,331).
  • The proportion and number of patients waiting over 52 weeks increased to 8% (36,282) from 6.9% (29,240) in the previous quarter. There has been a decrease in the proportion of patients waiting over 104 weeks from 0.7% to 0.6% (2,721, -179).

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 the quarter ending 30 June 2022:

  • 49,707 patients were admitted for treatment under this standard, an increase of 7.6% (3,531 patients) from the previous quarter but remains 29.6% (-20,891) lower than the average of 70,598 patients admitted during quarters in 2019.
  • 61.6% (30,616) had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less, lower than both the 63.9% (29,489) reported in the previous quarter and the pre-pandemic average of 70.7% (49,918).

At 30 June 2022:

  • 139,584 were waiting to be admitted for treatment, an increase of 6.1% (+8,053) from the end of the last quarter. Comparing to the 2019 average (77,021) the waiting list is 81.2% higher.
  • 43,971 (31.5%) had been waiting 12 weeks or less. This percentage has decreased from 34.5% at 31 March 2022 and is markedly down on the 68.7% average reported in 2019.
  • There was an increase in the number and percentage waiting over 52 weeks, up from 23.6% (30,992) at 31 March 2022 to 25.3% (35,359) at 30 June 2022. There has been a decrease in the proportion and number of patients waiting 104 weeks or more, from 7.9% to 7.2% (10,066, -356).

Clinical Prioritisation - experimental statistics based on the collection of clinical prioritisation data for patients covered by the TTG

  • The data gathered on Clinical Prioritisation indicates that the focus of care during the pandemic has been for patients with the most urgent needs whilst a growing number of patients with less urgent clinical needs are waiting longer to be treated. This can be seen when comparing the corresponding proportions of patients admitted and waiting for treatment. At 30 June 2022, 11.3% of the 139,584 patients waiting were categorised as P2 (treatment scheduled within 4 weeks) but during the quarter, P2s accounted for 45.7% of the 49,707 admissions. This compares to 52.8% of patients waiting and 18.9% of admissions being P4s (treatment may be safely scheduled after 12 weeks).
  • The statistics highlight how the proportion of cases in each clinical prioritisation category varied across different specialties, reflecting the differing levels of urgency in the conditions being treated. For example, urology had the highest proportion of additions to waiting lists that were categorised as P2, 60.5% during the latest quarter. This is in contrast to specialties such as ophthalmology and orthopaedics where over 75% of additions were either P3 or P4.

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

The next release of this publication will be 29 November 2022.

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: 07 October 2022
Was this page helpful?