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 2021, 286,707 patients were seen across NHSScotland. This represents an increase of 10.8% (+27,859 patients) from the quarter ending 31 March 2021. Although, the rate of growth in activity has increased this quarter, the number of patients seen is 22% lower than the quarterly average of 367,450 during 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic.
  • Of those seen during the quarter ending 30 June 2021, 73.3% had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less. This compares to 71.5% for the previous quarter and 76.7% for those seen in 2019, before the pandemic began.
  • At 30 June 2021, 396,771 were waiting to be seen. This represents an increase of 12.1% (+42,848) from 31 March 2021 and is 48.4% (+129,489) higher than at 30 June 2020 when the list size was abnormally low, partly due to a significant drop in referrals. When comparing to the average at the end of quarters in 2019, the waiting list is 28.5% (+87,884) higher. Of those waiting at 30 June 2021, 53.1% had been waiting 12 weeks or less, this percentage has gradually increased over the last year but remains markedly down on the 73.4% average reported in 2019.
  • While the waiting list size continues to increase, the percentage of patients experiencing waits of 52 weeks and over has decreased. At 30 June 2021, 8.8% (35,016) had been waiting 52 weeks or more, down from 13.4% (47,598) at 31 March 2021. However, there has been a subsequent increase in those waiting 33-51 weeks (from 7.8% to 10.8% +15,285) over the same period.

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 2021, 51,455 patients were seen across NHSScotland. This represents an increase of 40.3% (+14,767 patients) from the quarter ending 31 March 2021. Although the figure has increased in the latest quarter, it remains 27.1% lower than the quarterly average of 70,590 during 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic.
  • Of those admitted during the quarter ending 30 June 2021, 64.2% had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less. This compares to 71.5% for the previous quarter and 70.7% for those admitted in 2019, before the pandemic began. It should be recognised that this measure will typically rise when many services are limited to urgent treatment, this is reflected in the decrease between quarters ending 31 March and 30 June 2021.
  • At 30 June 2021, 96,557 were waiting to be admitted for treatment. This represents a slight increase of 1.5% (+1,414) from 31 March 2021 but is 13.1% (+11,195) higher than the same quarter last year. When comparing to the average waiting at the end of quarters in 2019, prior to the pandemic, this represents a 25.1% (+19,396) increase. Of those waiting, 38.6% had been waiting 12 weeks or less, an increase from 35.1% at 31 March 2021 but markedly down on the 68.7% average reported for those waiting at the end of quarters in 2019.
  • The percentage of patients experiencing waits of 52 weeks and over has decreased. At 30 June 2021, 24.1% (23,256) had been waiting 52 weeks or more, down from 29.5% (28,073) at 31 March 2021. However, there has been a subsequent increase in patients waiting 27-51 weeks (from 13.5% to 18.9%, +5,433).

Background

These statistics continue to be affected by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. During the early stage of the outbreak many services were paused or reduced and there were also less referrals to services. Boards started to resume relevant services, from June 2020 but a second wave of cases emerged in the autumn and as the number of hospitalisations escalated during the winter months some Boards temporarily paused non-urgent elective care again. Access to services has generally increased since then but some Boards may have been temporarily impacted by a return to high infection rates in recent months as lockdown restrictions eased.

Further information

Documents relating to waiting times, including the TTG are available via the waiting times section of the Data and Intelligence website.

The next release of this publication will be 30 November 2021.

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 email 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: 23 August 2021
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