Patient waiting times

More than one million patients treated within 12-week guarantee.

The NHS in Scotland has treated more than one million patients within the 12-week treatment time guarantee, since it was introduced in October 2012.

The figures come as official waiting time statistics for January to March 2016 show that 92.7% of inpatients and day-case patients were treated within 12 weeks. Since the guarantee was introduced 1.1 million, equating to 96.6% of patients, have been treated within the timeframe.

Recently the Scottish Government announced a £200 million commitment to create five new elective and diagnostic centres across the country and expand services at the Golden Jubilee Hospital. This will allow people needing procedures such as hip, knee and cataracts operations to be treated as quickly as possible.

Today’s figures also show:

  • Outpatient performance has improved with 88.0% of patients waiting less than 12 weeks for a new appointment.
  • Waits for key diagnostic tests have also reduced, with 94.6% of patients waiting less than six weeks, compared to 93.2% last quarter. When it comes to the four key radiology tests measured, 98.1% of patients waited less than six weeks.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“Health boards across Scotland continue to deliver some of the lowest waiting times on record, with 1.1 million patients treated within our 12 week treatment time guarantee since it was introduced in October 2012.

“However, more clearly needs to be done to maintain and improve performance to meet the rightly demanding targets we have set. Patients should expect nothing less. That’s why we have provided recent investment to ease pressure, and set out long terms plans to ensure our NHS is fit for the future.

“This includes our commitment to investing £200 million to create five new elective and diagnostic centres across the country, as well as expand services at the Golden Jubilee Hospital. These centres, which will carry out procedures like hip, knees and cataracts operations, will allow people to be treated more quickly for planned surgery. This will help the NHS meet increasing demand from a growing elderly population, taking pressure off unplanned and emergency treatment.

“Recent investment, including our £10 million commitment from the £31.5 million Performance Fund is also helping boards with improvements along the entire patient journey from referral to treatment, as well as expanding diagnostic and treatment capacity, meaning patients receive faster treatment.

“Funding of £1.5 million for the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to carry out an additional 1,550 operations each year is allowing patients from across Scotland to receive faster treatment and help manage increases in demand and clear backlogs.

“In addition, a £2.7 million investment to reduce outpatient waits is reflected in the improvement in outpatient performance.

"We know there is still substantial work to do, which is why we have the solid fundamentals of increased investment and a growing workforce in place to help our NHS ensure all patients in Scotland are treated as quickly and as effectively as possible.”

Notes to editors

Latest waiting time figures are available here:

The 12 week treatment time guarantee is the maximum waiting time patients should wait for planned treatment. It was introduced in October 2012 for all patients due to receive treatment as an inpatient or on a day case basis.

The 18 week referral to treatment time standard has a compliance rate of 90%. Compliance for outpatient appointments is 95% within 12 weeks.

During the quarter ending March 2016 there were 5,715 waits over 12 weeks. The health boards with the highest level of breaches were Ayrshire & Arran (663 – delivery 88.3%), Dumfries & Galloway (244 – delivery 90.4%), Grampian (940 – delivery 88.3%), Highland (693 – delivery 81.0%), Lanarkshire (935 – delivery 83.3%), Lothian (669 – delivery 94.6%) and Tayside (1,120 – delivery 83.8%). This equates to 92.1% of all waits over 12 weeks.


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