About this release
This quarterly release by Public Health Scotland relates to the number of patients waiting for one of eight key diagnostics tests and investigations and the time they have waited. The eight key tests and investigations are upper endoscopy, lower endoscopy (excl. colonoscopy), colonoscopy, cystoscopy, CT scan, MRI scan, barium studies and non-obstetric ultrasound.
At 31 March 2022:
- 155,405 patients were waiting to be seen for the eight key diagnostic tests, an increase of 10% (+14,143) from 31 December 2021 and 75.8% from the average in the 12 months prior to the pandemic (March 19 - Feb 20). Of those waiting, 49.6% had been waiting six weeks or less (42 days), equal to the percentage reported at 31 December 2021.
- 35,241 patients were waiting for an endoscopy, an increase of 3% from 31 December 2021 and 57.7% from the pre-pandemic average. Of those waiting, 36.4% had been waiting six weeks or less; representing an increase from 33.4% at 31 December 2021 but markedly down on the 66.6% 12-month average prior to the onset of the pandemic.
- The percentage of patients waiting over 52 weeks for an endoscopy increased from 13% at 31 December 2021, to 15.2% (5,347 patients, +911).
- 120,164 patients were waiting for a radiology test, an increase of 12.3% from 31 December 2021 and 81.9% from the average in the 12 months prior to the pandemic. Of those waiting, 53.5% had been waiting six weeks or less; lower than the pre-pandemic average of 86.6% and 54.7% at 31 December 2021.
- The percentage of patients waiting over 13 weeks for a radiology test has increased from 15.8% at 31 December 2021 to 21.9% (26,368 patients, +9,407). On average, only 1.8% of patients were waiting over 13 weeks in the 12 months prior to the pandemic.
The services involved continue to be affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In the early stages of the outbreak most non-urgent treatment was paused or reduced and there were fewer referrals to services. Since then services have been remobilising but capacity is constrained by the requirement for additional infection control measures. In addition, further waves of the virus have slowed the recovery of services due to the need to again pause or reduce services for reasons such as increased staff absence or the need to divert resources because of an increase in unscheduled hospitalisations.
Further background information on NHS Scotland Waiting Times, including diagnostics, can be found here – CEL 33 (2012).
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.
The next release of this publication will be 30 August 2022.
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.
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