About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland reports on completed patient pathways that are fully measurable against the 18 weeks Referral to Treatment (RTT) standard (90% of patients being treated within 18 weeks of referral) up to 30 June 2022. A fully measurable patient pathway refers to patient journeys where it has been possible for the NHS Board treating the patient to link all stages of the patient's journey from the initial referral to the start of treatment.

All NHS Boards have encountered significant pressure on local information and intelligence resources due to the additional demands arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, data submitted since the onset of the pandemic may not have been subjected to the usual levels of quality assurance. In addition, NHS Tayside have been unable to submit data since May 2021 and NHS Grampian have been unable to submit data since February 2020, however NHS Grampian will start providing data from July 2022 onwards. Current NHSScotland figures do not include any data for these NHS boards and this should be taken into consideration when interpreting the statistics shown.

Main Points

  • 84.4% of the patient journeys (excluding NHS Grampian and NHS Tayside) completed during this quarter were fully measurable against the 18-week standard. Of these, 73.6% of patients were reported as being treated within 18 weeks of referral; this is 0.9% higher than in the previous quarter but lower than the performance level at quarter-end June 2019, prior to the pandemic (80.4%).
  • Across NHSScotland (excluding NHS Grampian and NHS Tayside), 209,912 patients were treated under this standard during the quarter ending 30 June 2022, a decrease of 1,677 (0.8%) from the previous quarter. Within the latest quarter there were 61,045 patients treated in April, increasing to 76,407 in May before decreasing to 72,460 in June (see below chart). There were 22% fewer people treated at quarter-end June 2022 compared to quarter-end June 2019 of 269,687 patients.
  • There was variation in percentage of completed patient pathways at NHS Board level. The largest percentage increase in patients seen, when comparing to the previous quarter, was in NHS Ayrshire & Arran (+14.9%, 2137 patients). In contrast, the largest percentage decrease was seen in NHS Shetland (-9.3%, 124 patients).
Image caption Total number of completed patient pathways and percentage of measurable waits against the 18 weeks Referral to Treatment (RTT) standard, NHSScotland, June 2019 to June 2022.


These statistics continue to be affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. On 30 April 2022, NHSScotland was stood down from emergency footing, however COVID-19 is still affecting provision and availability of services with waves of infection resulting in reduced capacity, for example due to increased staff absence and higher demand from emergency departments and inpatient wards. During these periods there is often a requirement to prioritise and treat only those patients with the most urgent clinical needs.

The 18 Weeks RTT standard applies to the entire patient journey from the initial referral to the start of treatment. Achieving the standard depends on waiting times for diagnostic tests, new outpatient appointments, inpatient and day case treatment. 18 Weeks RTT performance is based on adjusted waits for consultant led treatments and fully measurable completed patient journeys.

Further information

Information on the 18 weeks RTT standard and the data collected can be found on the waiting times section of our website.

The next release of this publication will be 29 November 2022.

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs, a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS Boards within NHSScotland are performing.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.waitingtimes@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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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: 07 October 2022
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