Waiting times are important to patients and are a measure of how the NHS is responding to demands for services. Measuring and regular reporting of waiting times highlights where there are delays in the system and enables monitoring of the effectiveness of NHS performance throughout the country. The NHS in Scotland has been set a number of targets for maximum waiting times. The Scottish Government continues to be committed to improving information on waiting to provide a clear and transparent picture of NHS performance. Here we provide the latest information about NHS waiting times in Scotland based on nationally available information.
Our Accident & Emergency, Diagnostics and Stage of Treatment publications have all been designated as National Statistics by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority.
ISD's Role and Responsibility
ISD's principal role in relation to NHS waiting times is to maintain the national database of comparative waiting times data and to use this data to carry out statistical analysis and to publish official statistics on waiting times for use by the Scottish Government, NHS Boards and the wider public.
ISD is recognised in legislation as a producer of official statistics with professional independence for the format, content and timing of statistical publications. NHS waiting times publications published by ISD have been designated as National Statistics by the UK Statistics Authority reflecting compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
ISD does not have a role in managing or challenging the performance of NHS Boards in relation to waiting times policy and targets.
Specifically ISD is responsible for :
- Specifying the national data extracts required from NHS Boards for collating official statistics on waiting times in Scotland;
- Collating comparative data from Boards and maintaining this data with the national database;
- Ensuring waiting times codes and calculations derived from national comparative data are consistent with SG guidance and regulations;
- Performing quality assurance and validation procedures on the national comparative data submitted by Boards and advising Boards and, if necessary, Scottish Government on quality issues arising;
- Providing national comparative data on waiting times for statistical purposes in response to parliamentary questions, research, audit and other types of information requests;
- Preparing reports and statistical analysis of performance, quality and other aspects of waiting times on behalf of the Scottish Government, and supporting NHS Boards in accessing, analysing and interpreting national comparative waiting times data.
- Publishing official statistics on waiting times and lists in Scotland in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics issued by the UK Statistics Authority.
NHS Boards are responsible for ensuring local administrative systems and data recording processes are compliant with waiting times guidance and regulations and for ensuring that the data extracts submitted to ISD from local systems for inclusion in the national database are accurate and timely.
ISD will provide advice and feedback to Boards where necessary to help ensure data submitted is consistent with requirements for national reporting. ISD will also provide advice to Boards on calculations of waiting times and other statistics derived from national comparative data. However ISD will not advise or issue separate guidance to Boards on the implementation of waiting times regulations as they affect patients but will refer such queries to the Scottish Government who are responsible for the national waiting times guidance and regulations.
NHS Boards are responsible for internal reporting of their management of waiting lists and to their own Boards. ISD will provide advice and feedback to Boards as required to help ensure that NHS Boards' internally reported statistics are consistent with statistics derived and published using the national comparative dataset.