NHS in Scotland: dashboard shows data on winter pressures - from ambulance wait times to cancer treatment

With NHS Scotland facing considerable pressures this winter, our tracker charts the performance of key areas, from ambulance response times to operation waiting lists

NHS Scotland is routinely failing to hit critical ambulance response times, A&E waiting times and cancer care targets, analysis by NationalWorld shows.

From record long waits for urgent care to potential industrial action by healthcare workers, the country’s health and care system faces considerable pressures this winter. In a bid to support the NHS throughout the colder months the Scottish government pledged more than £600 million back in October but how much of an impact will it have on an already struggling health system?

This winter NationalWorld is tracking how well NHS Scotland is performing using the latest figures published by Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service. Throughout this article you can find and compare hospital figures to see how your local provider is coping.

NationalWorld is also tracking the winter pressures facing England, Northern Ireland and Wales. You can access our NHS England winter pressure tracker here and the NHS Wales tracker here.

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Ambulance response times

Ambulance crews have a six minute target to reach people with life-threatening conditions, these are classified as ‘purple incidents’. You can see how your local ambulance service compares in the table below. Can’t see the table? Click here.

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A&E waiting times

A&E departments have also been failing to hit targets. Guidelines say 95% of people attending A&E should be seen, admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours but the NHS has failed to hit this target since July 2020 and figures show how the situation has worsened since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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You can see if your local hospital is hitting the target in the table below. Click here if you can’t see the table.

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Cancelled operations

Operation cancellations are also affecting patients across the country. The most recent available data for September shows 1,786 operations were cancelled, representing 9.4% of all scheduled operations. Operations can be cancelled for various clinical and non-clinical reasons as well as by patients.

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You can see what proportion of operations were cancelled at your local hospital in the table below. Click here if you can’t see the table.

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Bed blocking

Delayed discharges, also known as bed blocking, is when a patient is clinically ready to be discharged from hospital but the necessary support is not in place (such as accommodation or care). In Scotland the issue remains commonplace across healthboards. The latest available figures show 1,885 people were delayed from being discharged from hospital in September (based on the monthly census point).

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Cancer care backlogs

Cancer care targets are also not routinely being met. Scottish Government guidelines state that 95% of eligible patients should wait a maximum of 62 days from urgent suspicion of cancer referral to first cancer treatment but latest figures show almost a quarter of patients (23.7%) started treatment later than 62 days after urgent referral. The latest figures cover the period April to June 2022 and although they do not cover the winter period they do highlight the strain cancer care is under across the country.

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You can find out how your local health board performed in the latest quarter in the table below. Click here if you can’t see the table.

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Overall, 965 people were not treated within the target timeframe. The average wait was 47 days and the longest wait for treatment was almost one year (322 days).