About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update on how long people waited to start treatment with psychological therapies provided by NHS Scotland for the quarter ending March 2022. An update of referrals data from the Child, Adolescent, and Psychological Therapies National Dataset (CAPTND) has been published.

Due to recent Public Holidays, there will be a one week delay in the availability of Open Data updates for the CAMHS and PT Waiting Times.  This will be available for download in due course.

Main points

For the quarter ending March 2022:

  • 19,977 people started psychological therapies treatment in NHS Boards and NHS 24 in the quarter ending March 2022. This is an increase of 10.5% (1,905) from the previous quarter, and an increase of 9.2% (1,684) from the same quarter the previous year.
  • More than four out of five (83.1%) people started their treatment within 18 weeks of referral, compared to 84.8% of people for the previous quarter, and 80.6% of people for the quarter ending March 2021. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of people should start their treatment within 18 weeks of referral to psychological therapies. Half of the people starting treatment started within 2 weeks of referral.
Image caption Percentage of patients who started psychological therapy treatment within 18 weeks of referral, quarterly March 2017 - March 2022, NHS Scotland
  • 1,139 people aged 65+ years started treatment with psychological therapies in this quarter. 85.3% started their treatment within 18 weeks of referral, a decrease from 86.0% in the previous quarter and an increase from 85.2% for the quarter ending March 2021.
  • Changes in working practices, including staff being re-deployed and the provision of on-line appointments (which not all patients wished to take up) during the pandemic led to fewer people starting treatment during this time. However, activity has now increased to pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • The number of referrals are now similar to pre-COVID-19 levels, with 40,331 people being referred for psychological therapies (and in some cases further adult mental health services) in Scotland (see Data Quality Document). This is a 1.5% (616) decrease from the 40,947 people referred in the previous quarter, and a 7.1% (2,683) increase from the same quarter ending March 2021 (37,648 referrals).


Waiting times information for psychological therapies is still being developed. NHS Boards are working with PHS and the Scottish Government to improve the consistency and completeness of the information.

Psychological therapies refer to a range of interventions, based on psychological concepts and theory, which are designed to help people understand and make changes to their thinking, behaviour and relationships in order to relieve distress and to improve functioning. The standard applies specifically to psychological therapies for treatment of a mental illness or disorder.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 06 September 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.psychtherapies@phs.scot.

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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: 21 March 2024
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