Waiting times - Elective care

Covid-19 has placed challenges on our NHS services and we are delivering care differently to support patients across Scotland.

During the pandemic, patients have been seen and treated based on their clinical urgency and we will continue to do so whilst we remobilise our NHS.

Patients are being classified in the following groups:

  • Priority Level 1a Emergency – operation needed within 24 hours
  • Priority Level 1b Urgent – operation needed within 72 hours
  • Priority Level 2 Surgery – scheduled within 4 weeks
  • Priority Level 3 Surgery – scheduled within 12 weeks
  • Priority Level 4 Surgery – may be safely scheduled after 12 weeks

NHS Scotland is working hard to increase the services available as safely and as quickly as possible. Clinicians and Clinical Experts are continuously reviewing how they deliver services to provide additional appointments to support your care.

About your appointment

It is important to attend your appointment or to let us know if you no longer need to attend.

Make sure you read any information provided in advance of your appointment so you know what to expect and can make the relevant preparations.

Keeping an eye on your condition

It is important to attend your appointment or to let us know if you no longer need to attend.

Make sure you read any information provided in advance of your appointment so you know what to expect and can make the relevant preparations.

Self Help

If you require further advice on your condition, please contact the hospital team you are awaiting an appointment with.

If your condition or symptoms worsen while waiting, you should contact your GP Practice.

Your local pharmacist or a trained member of the pharmacy team can give you advice and provide over-the-counter medicine if needed.

Call NHS 24 on 111 for further advice on managing symptoms.

If you consider your condition or symptoms to be life-threatening, then you should call 999 immediately.

Other Support

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or that your mental health and well-being has been affected by the delay in your treatment, you can call:

  • NHS 24 on 111, 24 hours a day, and select the Mental Health option from the telephone prompts
  • Breathing space on 0800 83 85 87 is open weekdays Monday-Thursday, 6am to 2am, and weekends Friday 6pm to Monday 6am
  • Living Life on 0800 328 9655 is open Monday-Friday 1pm to 9pm

Your rights and responsibilities

Under the Charter of Patients Rights and Responsibilities, you have certain rights and responsibilities when using the NHS in Scotland.

For waiting times, It's important that these be respected if patients are to receive treatment in the shortest time possible.

Your rights and responsibilities apply to waiting times in the following ways:

  • Availability
  • Appointments
  • Attendance

Find out more about how your rights and responsibilities apply to waiting times.

Further Information

Watch this video from Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Caesar, which provides further information relating to waiting times.

Alternative formats and languages

The information on this page is available in different formats and has been translated into different languages.