About this release

From Tuesday 31 January a new publication format is available that combines the monthly and weekly publication. It also includes additional monthly data on demographics and patterns of attendance. Please note that there are some very slight differences to the overall numbers in these additional dashboards compared to monthly publication due to recent data resubmission that took place after the publication was prepared. The aim is for this to eventually replace the current monthly and weekly publication so that all the A&E information can be found in one place.

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update of key statistics on attendances at Accident and Emergency (A&E) services across Scotland.

Please note that the data in this publication is based on unplanned attendances only. It does not include Recall/Return Planned data and the New Planned category that was introduced as part of the Redesign of Urgent care.

The information includes trends in the number of attendances and admissions and performance against the 4 hour standard. Please take into account the notes and metadata when interpreting this data.

Main points

Large decreases in attendances at A&E services in NHSScotland were observed in spring 2020 and winter 2020/21 due to the measures put in place to respond to COVID-19. Since spring 2021 attendances at A&E have been rising and are getting closer to the pre-COVID levels.

From the summer of 2021 performance against the four hour standard has dropped below 80% and has remained at this rate for a prolonged period of time.

During February 2023:

There were 110,807 attendances at A&E services in Scotland.

  • 69.7% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.
  • 10,709 (10%) patients spent more than 8 hours in an A&E department.
  • 4,751 (4.4%) patients spent more than 12 hours in an A&E department.
  • 25.3% of attendances led to an admission to hospital.


Since 2007, the national standard for A&E is that 95 percent of patients to wait no longer than 4 hours from arrival to admission, discharge or transfer for A&E treatment. This standard is seen as a milestone towards returning to the 98% standard. This standard applies to all attendances for emergency care including attendances in trolleyed areas of assessment units as well as Emergency Departments (ED) and minor injury units (MIU).

Time spent in A&E is subject to seasonal variation, and this publication includes rolling annual statistics covering a full year of data as well as information based on activity for the latest month. The detailed A&E analysis is supplied online in an Excel Workbook with interactive tables and charts showing: number of attendances, patients spending over 4, 8 and 12 hours in A&E and destination on discharge from A&E by NHS board, hospital and for all Emergency Departments. A data file (csv format) containing data by hospital and month is also available.

Further information

Further information can be found on the Emergency Care pages of the Data and Intelligence website.

The weekly Emergency Department Activity and Waiting Times publication was also released on 7 March 2023 including new data for the week ending Sunday 26 February 2023. This weekly publication covers Emergency Departments only.

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs (external website) which 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.unscheduledcare@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: 21 March 2024
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