This website places cookies on your device to help us improve our service to you. To find out more about the cookies, see our Privacy and Cookies notice
ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health

Emergency Department Activity


NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland


Routine Reports

ISD produces both weekly and monthly routine reports.

From the week ending 7 June 2015, ISD have released the weekly update of Emergency Department Activity and Waiting Times. Recent weeks' figures are derived from aggregate returns submitted by NHS Boards, these figures are official statistics intended to provide timely information on the number of attendances and 4, 8, and 12 hour waits at Emergency Departments (EDs) across Scotland. These aggregate statistics are subject to only basic quality assurance checks. NHS Boards are required to confirm to ISD that the statistics are accurate. To improve accuracy of the trend, the weekly statistics are updated monthly using the most recent month available on ISD's A&E data mart.

Since February 2015, ISD have released monthly National Statistics publications on ED Activity and Waiting Times, sourced from the A&E datamart. This publication includes trends in the number of attendances and admissions, and performance against the four hour waiting time standard.

To access the most recent weekly and monthly publications please go to the Emergency Care Home page and refer to the Latest Publications section on the right hand side of the page.

Emergency Care Background Information and Glossary Download PDF file [18Kb]

Comparison of Sources

The A&E data mart statistics are subject to a higher level of quality assurance than the weekly statistics; however, there is good agreement between the two data sources. A comparative analysis of the two data sources Download Excel file [310 Kb] is available and updated monthly.

Specialised Reports

These are official statistics publications, by the Information Services Division (ISD) for NHSScotland, which are produced (roughly) every quarter and focus on different aspects of emergency care. Below is a list of all the Specialised Reports that have been published on Emergency Care so far.

24/05/2016: Emergency Care Activity - When do patients attend Emergency Departments?

This report investigates the daily, weekly and seasonal patterns of attendance at Emergency Departments and subsequent admission to hospital across NHS boards, for the year ending March 2016. It assesses whether variations in when patients attend are associated with different referral sources and patient age profiles.

  • Attendances by arrival time, day and by age group
  • Hospital admission relative to time and day of attendance
  • Referrals by day and time
  • Monthly variations of attendances and admissions
Publication Summary Download   Download PDF file [186kb]
Full Report Download   Download PDF file [511kb]
Data Tables View Data Tables

To watch a video providing an overview of the daily and weekly patterns of attendance at Emergency Departments across Scotland please watch "When do patients attend Emergency Departments?"

12/01/2016: Emergency Care Activity - Patient pathways through the Emergency Department

This report reviews the pathways that patients take into and out of Emergency Departments across NHS boards and hospitals for the year ending September 2015. Additionally, it assesses whether the length of stay in Emergency Departments varies according to where patients are discharged to.

  • Attendances by referral source
  • Mode of transport to Emergency Departments
  • Discharge destination and length of time spent in Emergency Departments
Publication Summary Download   Download PDF file [127kb]
Full Report Download   Download PDF file [418kb]
Data Tables View Data Tables

29/09/2015: Emergency Care Activity - Who attends Emergency Departments

This report investigates whether Emergency Department attendances and subsequent hospital admissions, for year ending June 2015, are associated with different demographic groups. Additionally, it looks at the proportion of patients attending multiple times in a year.

  • Attendance rates by NHS Board of residence
  • Attendances and admissions broken down by age group and by sex
  • Attendances and admissions by SIMD quintile
  • Multiple attendances
  • Percentage of attendance records submitted to ISD with a valid ethnic group code
Full Report Download   Download PDF file [140kb]
Data Tables View Data Tables

Historical Data

Total Attendances by Site Type and Attendance Category

Attendance and Admission Rates by Age Band and Gender

Waiting Times (4-hour standard)

HEAT target attendance rates


ISD have carried out several consultations to allow as many stakeholders as possible to comment or contribute towards proposed changes to the A&E publications. The main reasons for carrying out these changes are to develop the usability of the output and improve the clarity of A&E information. Responses from the consultations have impacted how A&E data is reported and presented which affects future reports and publications. Possible change has included information on the type of data being collected, type of attendance recorded, and the type of site. For further information on previous consultations, please read the following document: Consultations Download PDF file [34kb]

National Statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated the Attendances and 4 hr compliance information from the Emergency Department Activity and Waiting Times Monthly Update publication as National Statistics. This is in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs
  • are well explained and readily accessible
  • are produced according to sound methods
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

If you would like any more information or have any queries please contact

Related Statistics

ISD also publish a range of statistics on waiting times in other areas of planned (elective) health care e.g. hospital admissions, diagnostic tests, cancer treatment. Please visit the Waiting Times section of the web site for further information.

All 4 UK countries publish information on the time spent in Accident and Emergency (A&E), though this can be labelled under Emergency Department (as in Scotland) or Emergency Care (as in Northern Ireland). The published statistics are not exactly comparable because: they were designed to monitor targets which have developed separately within each country; the provision and classification of unscheduled care services varies across the UK; the systems which collect the data are different.

Routine stats

Northern Ireland


© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
Contact Us

About Information Services Division | Contact Us | Accessibility | Complaints
Copyright | Terms and Conditions | Privacy | Freedom of Information

ISD is a division of NHS NSS
Working at the very heart of the health service, NSS delivers services critical to frontline patient care and in support of the efficient and effective operation of NHS Scotland. Visit the NSS Website for more information