About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update on how long people waited to start treatment with psychological therapies in NHS Scotland for the quarter ending September 2023. As of June 2022, psychological therapies data is available via an interactive dashboard.

Main points

For the quarter ending September 2023:

  • 79.4% of people started their treatment within 18 weeks of referral, compared to 78.8% of people for the previous quarter, and 81% of people for the quarter ending September 2022. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of people should start their treatment within 18 weeks of referral to psychological therapies.
  • 50% of the people starting treatment started within 3 weeks of referral.
Image caption Percentage of patients who started treatment in psychological therapy within 18 weeks of referral, by quarter for September 2019 - September 2023, NHS Scotland
  • 18,301 people started psychological therapies treatment in NHS Boards in the quarter ending September 2023. This is a decrease of 0.8% (149) from the previous quarter and an increase of 0.1% (10) from the quarter ending September 2022.
  • 1,386 people aged 65+ years started treatment with psychological therapies in this quarter. 83.3% started their treatment within 18 weeks of referral, an increase from 81.6% in the previous quarter and also an increase from 81.5% for the quarter ending September 2022.
  • A total of 42,143 people were referred for psychological therapies (and in some cases further adult mental health services) in Scotland in this quarter (see the Data Quality Document). This compares to 40,003 people referred in the previous quarter and a 10.1% (3,873) increase from the same quarter ending September 2022 (38,270 referrals).

Background

Waiting times information for psychological therapies is still being developed. NHS Boards are working with PHS and the Scottish Government to improve the consistency and completeness of the information.

Psychological therapies refer to a range of interventions, based on psychological concepts and theory, which are designed to help people understand and make changes to their thinking, behaviour and relationships in order to relieve distress and to improve functioning. The standard applies specifically to psychological therapies for treatment of a mental illness or disorder.

Please note NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde submit data based on all referrals to mental health services that deliver psychological therapies, this includes some referrals for which after assessment the patient continued to other mental health services other than psychological therapies and treatments.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 5 March 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Santiago Nieva at phs.psychtherapies@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: 24 November 2023
Was this page helpful?