Long waiting times reduced by 20%

Progress continuing on NHS recovery.

Waiting times of more than two years have been reduced by 20% for both outpatients and inpatients, according to latest Public Health Scotland statistics.

The number of outpatients waiting over two years decreased from 2,633 in the quarter to the end of June to 2,114 (20%) for the period 1 July-30 September, and there was a 22% reduction in the number of patients waiting over two years for inpatient and daycase procedures (9,787 to 7,612).

Since the introduction of new targets in early July, progress on tackling the long waits continues, with almost 53,500 patients seen in the quarter to the end of September - the highest number in one quarter since the start of the pandemic.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the new figures.

Mr Yousaf said:

“We recognise the impact long waiting times have on a patient, from both a clinical and mental health perspective, which is why we announced ambitious waiting times targets to address the backlog of planned care.

“These figures show NHS Boards and their staff are working extremely hard, during challenging times, in order to meet these targets and support patients. I cannot thank them enough.

“We have already seen a huge effort to clear the backlog caused by the pandemic and we have seen two year outpatient waits in most specialities cleared. This is real progress on our recovery journey but we must stay focused on these efforts.

“I recognise the picture continues to be extremely tough, particularly as we head into winter, and that’s why our £600 million winter plan will see us recruit 1,000 new NHS staff and our £50 million Unscheduled Care Collaborative looks to reduce pressure on A&E through scheduled urgent appointments, Hospital at Home and directing people to more appropriate care.”


NHS waiting times

Reshaping unscheduled care services

The NHS Recovery Plan on 25 August 2021, backed by over £1 billion of funding, sets out our plans for health and social are over the next five years.

NHS recovery plan

The Plan will support an increase in inpatient, daycase, and outpatient activity to address the backlogs of care, which will be supported by the implementation of sustainable improvements and new models of care. Implementation of the plan is a top priority. 

Key actions include creating network of  National Treatment Centres (NTCs) to provide capacity for more than 40,000 additional surgeries and procedures each year.  The next four NTCs in Fife, Forth Valley, Highland and the phase 2 expansion of Golden Jubilee will open within the next year.


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