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ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health

Waiting Times

How waiting times are used

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Waiting Times Statistics

Waiting times are of public and 'management' interest for measuring among other things how well the health system is performing. It is also about prompting management action where pressures on the standard of service required by the public are apparent. Performance is monitored against a variety of Scottish Government (SG) targets and standards. There are two main measures for assessing performance within waiting times:

  • Patients waiting - waiting times of patients who are still waiting for health care at a point in time(waiting list census)
  • Patients seen - the waiting time actually experienced by patients who have been treated (seen) i.e. completed waits.

Currently ISD Scotland report on the following standards and targets across NHS Scotland:

Waiting Time
Last Updated
Time Period Covered
Scotland Performance
Accident & Emergency (A&E) - Monthly 95% A&E attendances are seen within 4 hours. 07/11/2017 01/09/2017-30/09/2017 93.5%
Child & Adolescent Mental Health To deliver a maximum wait of 18 weeks for children and young people waiting for treatment in mental health services for at least 90% of patients. 05/09/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 80.7%
Psychological Therapies To deliver a maximum wait of 18 weeks from a patient’s referral to treatment for Psychological Therapies for at least 90% of patients. 05/09/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 72.4%
Inpatients & Day Cases The Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) states that no patient covered by the guarantee should wait longer than 12 weeks for planned Inpatient or Day case admission. 29/08/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 81.4%
New Outpatient Appointments Achieve a 95% standard to deliver a maximum wait of 12 weeks for a New Outpatient appointment. 29/08/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 74.0%
Diagnostics Patients waiting for one of the eight key diagnostic tests and investigations would be waiting no longer than six weeks. 29/08/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 82.9%
Referral to Treatment 90.0% of patients should have a completed pathway from referral to first treatment commencing within 18 weeks. 29/08/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 84.8%
Cancer 62 Day Standard is that 95% of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer will wait a maximum of 62 days from referral to first cancer treatment.

 31 Day Standard is that 95% of all patients will wait no more than 31 days from decision to treat to first cancer treatment.
26/09/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 62 Day: 86.9%

31 Day:
Drugs & Alcohol Treatment 90% of people who need help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery. 26/09/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 94.9%
IVF Target that 90% of eligible patients will commence IVF treatment within 12 months. 29/08/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 99.8%
AHP MSK Target of least 90% of patients will receive their initial outpatient appointment within 4 weeks of referral. 19/09/2017 01/04/2017-30/06/2017 54.8%

More Information

Further detail about all NHS Scotland targets and standards can be found at the Scottish Government's NHS Performance Standards website.


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