Policy actions  2 of 4

Waiting times

Waiting times – 12 week standard

The current waiting time consists of two standards:

  • 95% of patients should receive an outpatient appointment within 12 weeks
  • 100% of patients should receive their treatment within 12 weeks

This will help to sustain a better quality of life for patients and help achieve the objective of a Healthier Scotland. Reduced waiting times leads to a better outcome for patients.

NHSScotland uses waiting times to help:

  • reduce patient anxiety
  • improve the quality of life of patients
  • improve the clinical outcomes
  • improve the timeliness of treatment

Acute hospital waiting times 

Regrettably people are often waiting too long to receive the help they need which is why the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport launched the £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan in October 2018. The Plan focuses on reducing the length of time people are waiting for key areas of healthcare and sets out the actions required to ensure future delivery of waiting time standards and guarantees for patients across Scotland by the Spring of 2021. Specific actions aimed at delivering the Plan include:

  • supporting health boards with additional funding to increase their elective activity
  • developing a network of regional elective and diagnostic centres
  • increasing capacity at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital with an additional MRI scanner and a new Cath lab
  • investing £4 million to increase domestic and international recruitment across specialties with the highest vacancy rates

More information

More information about waiting times is on the NHS Inform website. 

Read performance data on the current Local Delivery Plan (LDP) Standards - priorities set and agreed between the Scottish Government and NHS Boards to provide assurance on NHS Scotland performance.