About this release

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.

Comparability of A&E Statistics:  Various urgent and emergency care services run alongside A&E departments across Scotland, including assessment units.  A&E data submitted to PHS should include activity in trolleyed areas of assessment units, but it is not possible to separately identify this in the data.  This means that A&E statistics reported for an Emergency Department or Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at a hospital can also include activity from trolleyed areas of assessment units at the same hospital.

How these different urgent and emergency care services operate and the way space such as trolleyed areas are used can vary both by hospital (depending on the facilities available and how services have been set up to meet local demand) and also over time (depending on how many people need urgent or emergency care at different times). These differences could impact on the consistency and comparability of A&E statistics and it is important to bear this in mind when comparing statistics for different areas or hospitals, or looking at trend data over time.

PHS is working collaboratively with NHS Boards and the Scottish Government to monitor, review and improve recording guidance.  This will also include working to improve the way we present and explain our A&E statistics.

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 November 2022:

  • There were 126,051 attendances at A&E services in Scotland.
  • 67.5% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.
  • 13,625 (11.1%) patients spent more than 8 hours in an A&E department.
  • 5,270 (4.3%) patients spent more than 12 hours in an A&E department.
  • 25% 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 4 January 2023 including new data for the week ending Monday 26 December 2022. This publication covers Emergency Departments only and is derived from aggregate information supplied by NHS Boards on the number of attendances and 4, 8, and 12 hour waits.

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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