About this release

This quarterly release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) relates to the number of patients waiting for one of eight key diagnostic tests at 31 December 2022 and the time they have waited. The eight key diagnostic tests are upper endoscopy, lower endoscopy (excl. colonoscopy), colonoscopy, cystoscopy, CT scan, MRI scan, barium studies and non-obstetric ultrasound. 

Main points

Image caption Trend in the number of patients waiting and percentage waiting six weeks or less at month-end, by test type, NHSScotland, March 2019 to December 2022

At 31 December 2022:

  • 148,203 patients were waiting to be seen for one of the eight key diagnostic tests, a decrease of 7% from last quarter. This is the first decrease in waiting list size noted since December 2020, driven by a reduction in those waiting for a radiology test (-10%). However, the combined waiting list size is 69% higher than at the end of December 2019.
  • Of these, 46% had not breached the 6-week standard (42 days); there was a slight increase in this measure in November compared to quarter ending September 2022, before it fell again in December.
  • Of the 34,142 patients waiting for an endoscopy, 37% had been waiting six weeks or less at quarter end (-4% since 30 September 2022). A small decrease was also seen in those waiting longer than a year compared to the previous quarter-end (-3%).
  • Of the 114,061 patients waiting for a radiology test, 48% had been waiting six weeks or less compared to 50% in September 2022. This reduction is mostly due to non-obstetric ultrasound which recorded the lowest percentage of patients waiting six weeks or less since May 2020 (39%).


These statistics continue to be impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Further background information on NHS Scotland Waiting Times, including diagnostics, can be found in CEL 33 (2012).

Further information

For more information see the Waiting Times section of our website. PHS have developed an animation, with further explanations of how waiting times are calculated. A more detailed report can be accessed via the following link: Diagnostic Tests and Investigations.

Open data from this publication is available from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data Platform 

The next release of this publication will be 30 May 2023.

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs. NHS Performs 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.waitingtimes@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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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: 24 February 2023
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