Data summary

This release does not include specific COVID-19 information: visit our COVID-19 webpages for PHS COVID-19 information or the Scottish Government website (external website) for information on COVID-19 in Scotland.

Main points


Image caption Outpatient attendances in NHSScotland, for quarters ending December 2018 to December 2023p

p - provisional.

There were just over one million (1,003,749) outpatient attendances between 1 October and 31 December 2023. Of these, 32% (321,466 attendances) were new cases. The remaining 68% (682,283 attendances) were patients returning for follow-up appointments. During the same period, 7.7% (26,732) of new outpatient appointments were not kept without prior notification (‘Did Not Attends’).

Inpatients and day cases

There were 248,071 hospital admissions between 1 October and 31 December 2023. Of these, 48% (118,895) were emergency admissions, 10% (24,370) elective (planned) admissions, and 42% (103,597) day cases.  The average length of stay for inpatients was 7.8 days: 3.7 days for elective inpatients and 8.5 days for emergency inpatients.


There were on average 13,792 available staffed beds per day for all acute specialties in the quarter ending 31 December 2023. Of these, 9,904 (72%) were for medical specialties and 3,888 (28%) were for surgical specialties. For all acute specialties in the quarter ending 31 December 2023, the percentage occupancy was 87%.

Data quality

There are known issues with the quality of data presented such as the inpatient and day case completeness. For more information, please see the Data quality and Trend data sections. Please note that the focus is on new and outstanding data issues. Resolved issues are listed in previous publication releases.

Further information

This release includes the NHS Fife and NHS Highland National Treatment Centre (NTC) (external website) locations. As not all NTCs have a unique location code, and may be an expansion of an existing location, it is not currently possible to accurately differentiate between NTC activity and additional activity carried out within an NHS Board. Therefore, NTC figures reported may not be reflective of all NTC activity.

The data for the most recent quarter are provisional. Provisional data are subject to change in future publications, as submissions may be updated to reflect a more accurate and complete set of data from NHS Boards.

The volume of hospital activity and trends observed continue to be impacted post-pandemic and during the recovery phase. For example, inpatient and day case activity and outpatient activity have reduced by 10% and 7%, respectively, when comparing October to December 2023 to the same quarter of 2019 (pre-pandemic). However, activity levels have generally been recovering from July 2020 onwards, but are still not up to pre-pandemic levels.

Disclosure control methods have been applied to the data to protect patient confidentiality: therefore, some figures on total counts may not be additive.

Further information on this publication is available on these web pages. Data from this publication are available to download from the Data files and Data explorer sections of our website and from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data platform (external website).

Publications released before May 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence website. Background information on hospital care can be found in the Hospital Care topic area.

The next release of this quarterly acute hospital activity & NHS beds publication will be in November 2024.

Publication summary

View the publication summary.

Last updated: 28 May 2024
Was this page helpful?