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Hospital Care

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Hospital Care

Latest Publications

Published: 07 November 2017
Acute Hospital Activity and NHS Beds information, Annual 2017 release - Revised - 14 November 2017
Publication Summary Download pdf file [326kb]
Full Report Download pdf file [1205kb]
Published: 27 June 2017
Acute Hospital Activity and NHS Beds information
Publication Summary Download pdf file [328kb]
Full Report Download pdf file [481kb]
Published: 28 March 2017
Acute Hospital Activity and NHS Beds information
Publication Summary Download pdf file [41kb]
Full Report Download pdf file [501kb]

As part of the November 2017 Acute Hospital Care and NHS Beds Information publication, ISD Scotland has released annual statistics year ending March 2017 and quarterly statistics for quarter ending June 2017.

The annual activity statistics include information on:

  • Annual trends in available beds, by NHS Board, hospital and specialty
  • Annual trends in outpatient activity
  • Annual trends in Accident & Emergency activity
  • Average length of stay, by specialty
  • Cross-boundary flow; patients treated in boards outwith their own
  • Trends in diagnoses, by NHS Board and council area
  • Trends in emergency hospital admissions
  • Trends in multiple emergency admissions
  • Procedures carried out in hospitals
  • Trends in inpatient and day case activity (Including Psychiatric Hospital activity)

The quarterly statistics include information on:

  • Trends in outpatient activity
  • Trends in inpatient and day case activity
  • Trends in hospital bed provision

There will still be some information which remains affected by the implementation of the new TrakCare Patient Management System (PMS). ISD will clearly identify statistics which are affected by the ongoing data issues. For further details on the current data submission issues, please refer to the Hospital Records Data Monitoring SMR Completeness page. Specific issues to the June 2017 quarterly release are detailed in the Quarterly Data Issues and Completeness document Download Word file [27Kb].

This publication has been revised. Details of this revision and other specific issues relating to the November 2017 annual and quarterly release are detailed in the Annual Data Issues and Completeness document Download Word file [215Kb].

For more information on the Acute Hospital Activity and NHS Beds statistics publication contact: Kirsty Anderson, 0141 282 2243, David Redpath, 0131 275 7498 or Salomi Barkat, 0131 275 7871. The Secondary Care Team are also contactable on


This section of our website brings together information on different aspects of acute hospital care, sourced from hospital administrative systems across Scotland. Note that 'Acute' hospital care excludes obstetric, psychiatric and long stay care services that are covered elsewhere on our website. For reference, a listing of all Scottish hospitals (acute and non-acute) can be found by following the Hospitals link on the menu to the left of this page.

The Hospital Care pages contain information on outpatient activity, inpatient and day case activity, the number of NHS beds, and information on hospital diagnoses and operations/procedures. Please use the relevant links on the left side of the page to explore the information available on acute hospital activity in Scotland.

The majority of information within the Hospital Care pages is currently classed as National Statistics. Data on outpatient activity for Nurse and Allied Health Professionals are classed as Official Statistics. This also applies to information on Day Surgery and Outpatients Procedures and Beds Statistics. Currently the statistics are produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, available on the UK Statistics Authority website.

These pages also include information relating to NHSScotland performance against HEAT targets relating to hospital care. More detailed information on HEAT performance management system can be found on the Scotland Performs Website.


Acute hospitals provide a wide range of specialist care and treatment for patients. Typically, services offered in the NHS Acute sector are diverse. They include: consultation with specialist clinicians (consultants, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists and a wide range of other professionals); emergency treatment following accidents; routine, complex and life saving surgery; specialist diagnostic procedures; and close observation and short-term care of patients with worrying health symptoms.

Another major part of the work of many acute hospitals involves the treatment of patients who have a health problem that requires urgent attention. Many of these patients will be treated within an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department and will not require a hospital admission. Typically a patient will be admitted as an emergency inpatient if their condition is considered by a doctor to be serious enough to warrant urgent hospital care and treatment.

In the past, most reported patient activity has been attributed in national information systems to consultants and general practitioners, reflecting perhaps a more traditional view of the consultant as leader of the clinical team. This has had the effect of obscuring or overlooking the clinical contribution, in both hospitals and in the community, of nursing staff, allied health professionals and other healthcare professionals in nationally presented statistics. In recent years there has been a greater emphasis given towards enhancing the role of these professionals but the information systems required to account for many of these changes have not been available nationally.

Currently it is difficult to describe and quantify accurately the level of operations and clinical procedures carried out in an outpatient setting. This is particularly relevant for monitoring how changes in clinical practice have enabled the transfer of certain clinical activities, previously requiring inpatient or day case admission, to outpatient clinics. Whilst outpatient procedure recording has improved in recent years, gaps in the completeness and coverage remain. Details can be found within the Hospital Care Operation and Procedures page.

Information relating to Allied Health Professional and Nurse-led clinic activity provides a wider perspective on the way clinical care is delivered in the modern health service.

It should be noted that that there are apparent differences between activity figures published within the Hospital Care, Waiting Times and Finance web pages.

  • The figures for elective admissions and new outpatients in the Acute Hospital Activity publication are considerably higher than the equivalent information published on the Inpatient, Day Case and Outpatient waiting times web pages. This is largely due to the use of different definitions between the two sets of figures. For example, Acute Hospital Activity information includes non-waiting list cases, which do not form part of the published Scotland figures in ‘Waiting Times’.
  • Figures for inpatient and day case activity in the Acute Hospital Activity publication differ slightly when compared to the equivalent information released in the Finance web pages. This is largely due to the use of different definitions for the two sets of figures. For example, the Finance “acute” activity excludes the specialty of Geriatric Medicine and patients treated in Neonatal and Younger Physically Disabled Units, which differs from the “acute” activity that is published in the Acute Hospital Activity pages. The Finance publication also excludes consultant-only transfers from the inpatient figures. ISD Scotland is carrying out further detailed investigations into these differences.

For detailed information on data sources and clinical coding used within Hospital Care analysis please refer to the Data Sources and Clinical Coding document Download Word file[970kb].

Caution should be taken when comparing Scottish hospital activity and beds data with information from the rest of the UK as there are likely to be key differences in analysis methodologies and data collection processes.

The Office of National Statistics United Kingdom Health Statistics 2010 publication provides a single point of reference for the comparison of key figures between the four constituent countries of the UK. Hospital activity and bed statistics can be found within chapters 6 and 8 respectively. Whilst the four UK countries worked collaboratively to maximise the comparability of the figures, it is important to note that differences between the countries remain in the way that data measures are collected and classified, and because of differences between countries in the organisation of health and social services. The report includes the details of these differences where relevant.

Hospital activity data from England, Wales and Northern Ireland are available separately but should not be directly compared with published data from Scotland.

England - NHS Outcomes and Performance, NHS Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)
Wales - Health and care statistics
Northern Ireland - Hospital Statistics & Research

Customer Engagement

Acute Activity and Hospital Beds Publication User Survey

To build a better understanding of what our customers need from this publication, ISD conducted a user survey alongside the release of the June 2014 Acute Hospital Activity and NHS Beds Information publication.

In July 2016 we carried out a new consultation with stakeholders to further improve the annual Acute Hospital Activity and Beds Information publication. As a result changes were made to the number of tables released as well as to the content of these tables.

If you would like to discuss the survey results, please contact the Secondary Care Team

© ISD Scotland 2010
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