Action on long waits

Two year waits clear in most specialities.

Health Boards have made significant progress in reducing the number of people waiting more than two years for an outpatient appointment.

Statistics published today show that by the end of August, 22 out of 41 specialities had no patients waiting longer than two years for their treatment, with nine others having fewer than ten people still waiting over that time.

The national target to clear two year waits in most specialities, by the end of August, was set in July to address the impact of the pandemic on long waiting times for planned care.

Data published by Public Health Scotland shows by the end of August:

  • 22 out of 41 specialities had no patients waiting more than two years
  • 31 of 41 (76%) of outpatient specialities had no or fewer than ten patients waiting more than two years
  • 71% (10 of 14) of territorial Health Boards had five patients or fewer waiting more than two years

A small number of patients were unable to be seen by the end of August target for personal or clinical reasons. The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the Boards where the majority of long waits in some specialities remain, to ensure these are cleared as quickly as possible. 90% of two year waits were in either Ayrshire & Arran or Grampian Health Board.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“I would like to thank all NHS staff for their phenomenal work to tackle these long waits, their efforts will have an overwhelming positive impact on the lives of patients who have had their waits for treatment exacerbated by the pandemic.  

“This is real progress on our recovery journey and we can now see the healthcare system is beginning to turn as we make positive steps forward in our recovery from the pandemic - we must stay focused on these efforts.

“With two boards together accounting for 90% of all patients waiting over two years, we will work intensely with these boards to ensure the remaining waits are cleared as soon as possible.”


Public Health Scotland publication 


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