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 31 March 2022, 308,831 patients were seen under this standard. This represents an increase of 1.3% (+3,887 patients) from the previous quarter ending 31 December 2021 and is 15.9% lower than the average of 367,286 patients seen during quarters in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic.
  • Of those seen during the quarter ending 31 March 2022, there was an increase in the number of patients who had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less to be seen - 210,237 patients compared to 208,498 in the previous quarter.
  • At 31 March 2022, 421,561 patients were waiting to be seen. This represents an increase of 1.6% (+6,758) from the position at 31 December 2021 and is 36.8% higher than the average at the end of quarters in 2019.
  • Of those waiting at 31 March 2022, 209,177 (49.6%) had been waiting 12 weeks or less. This percentage has increased from 46.8% at 31 December 2021 but remains markedly down on the average reported in 2019 (73.5%).
  • Whilst the proportion of patients waiting over 52 weeks remained at 6.9%, the number waiting increased from 28,641 at 31 December 2021 to 28,993 at 31 March 2022. Of those patients waiting the longest, there has been an increase in the proportion of patients waiting over 104 weeks from 0.2% to 0.7% (2,831, +1,824).

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 31 March 2022, 45,998 patients were admitted for treatment under this standard. This represents an increase of 3.6% (+1,602 patients) from the previous quarter ending 31 December but is 34.8% (-24,596) lower than the average of 70,594 patients admitted during quarters in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic.
  • Of those admitted during the quarter ending 31 March 2022, 63.9% had waited 12 weeks (84 days) or less; lower than both the 69.2% reported in the previous quarter and the pre-pandemic average of 70.7%.
  • At 31 March 2022, 131,620 were waiting to be admitted for treatment. This represents an increase of 10.3% (+12,256) from 31 December 2021. When comparing to the average at end of quarters in 2019 the current waiting list is 70.9% higher.
  • Of those waiting at 31 March 2022, 44,798 (34%) had been waiting 12 weeks or less. This percentage has decreased from 35.1% at 31 December 2021 and is markedly down on the 68.7% average reported in 2019.
  • There was an increase in the percentage and number waiting over 52 weeks, up from 22.4% (26,698) at 31 December 2021 to 23.9% (31,405) at 31 March 2022. Of those waiting the longest, there has been an increase in the proportion of patients waiting over 104 weeks from 4.3% to 8.1% (10,613, +5,459).

Background

The services involved continue to be affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In the early stages of the outbreak most non-urgent treatment was paused or reduced and there were fewer referrals to services. Since then services have been remobilising (external website) but capacity is constrained by the requirement for additional infection control measures. In addition, further waves of the virus have slowed the recovery of services due to the need to again pause or reduce services for reasons such as increased staff absence or the need to divert resources because of an increase in unscheduled hospitalisations.

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 6 Sept 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 email phs.waitingtimes@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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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: 07 October 2022
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