About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) relates to the length of time patients wait to be seen as a new outpatient or admitted for treatment as an inpatient or day case. The latest statistics represent all patients covered by the national standards for these stages of treatment.

Main points

New outpatient national standard - 95% of new outpatients wait no longer than 12 weeks from referral to being seen.

During the quarter ending December 2022:      

  • 311,030 new outpatients were seen under this standard, an increase of 8,559 (+3%) compared to the previous quarter.
  • Of the patients seen, 65% had waited 12 weeks or less, a decrease of 3% from the previous quarter. 203,298 patients were seen in this timescale, 1,840 less than the previous quarter; 107,732 patients seen had waited over 12 weeks, 10,399 more than in the previous quarter.

At 31 December 2022:

  • 480,639 patients were waiting to be seen, a slight increase (+1%; +3,557) compared to the end of the previous quarter. There has been an upward trend in the number of patients waiting since COVID-19 began to impact on planned care in March 2020. The latest figure is 88% (+225,350) higher than at 31 March 2020.

Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) – Following the decision to treat, all eligible patients should wait no longer than 12 weeks for treatment as an inpatient or day case.

During quarter ending December 2022:

  • 55,875 patients were admitted under this standard, 4% higher than in the quarter ending September 2022 but over a fifth less (-21%) than the average of quarters in 2019.
  • Of those admitted, 57% patients had waited 12 weeks or less. There were 31,810 patients admitted in this timescale, 1,341 more than the previous quarter, and 24,065 patients who had waited over 12 weeks to be admitted, 561 more than in previous quarter.
  • 7,907 patients had waited over 52 weeks before being admitted, an increase of 5% compared to the previous quarter (7,563).

At 31 December 2022:

  • 144,045 patients were waiting to be admitted, a slight increase of 2,208 (+2%) since last quarter. This remains 22% higher (+26,215 patients) than at 31 December 2021 and 87% higher than the average at the end of quarters in 2019 (76,892), prior to when the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact on planned care services.

Planned care targets to tackle long waits announced in July 2022 - NHS Scotland will aim to eradicate waits of more than two years, and then one year in most specialties by September 2024.

  • There were 1,048 new outpatients waiting at 31 December 2022 who had waited longer than 104 weeks (2 years), a reduction of 1,067 patients since the target date of end of August.
  • In relation to the target to eradicate the number of new outpatients waiting over 18 months to be seen in most specialties by the end of December 2022, there were 5,124 patients who were waiting longer than 78 weeks.
  • There were 6,856 inpatient/day case patients waiting who had waited longer than 104 weeks, a reduction of 432 patients since the target date of end of September 2022.


Documents relating to waiting times, including the TTG are available via the waiting times section of the website (external website).

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

Further information

Open data from this publication are 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 (external website). 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.

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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