Annual Outpatient Activity

Patients who require the medical opinion of a specialist clinician may be referred to an outpatient clinic for treatment or investigation. An outpatient is a patient who attends (outpatient attendance) a consultant or other medical clinic, or has an arranged meeting with a consultant or a senior member of their team outwith a clinic session. Outpatients are not admitted to a hospital and do not use a hospital bed.

Outpatient attendances can be categorised as new or follow-up (return) attendances. Information on return appointments is only available for datasets that report on NHS Board of Treatment. Files reporting on the residency of patients only contain data for new outpatients as the ISD(S)1 data source for return outpatients does not contain residence information. ISD(S)1 also does not record information on the deprivation, age or sex of patients.

A variety of operations are carried out in NHSScotland and, increasingly, less complex procedures are undertaken in an outpatient setting. For further information on these procedures, see the Operations/Procedures section of the Public Health Scotland website.

Further information on hospital activity can be found in the recent annual publication.

The date of the next release can be found on our list of forthcoming publications

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source Outpatient data is sourced from SMR00
Author Secondary Care Team
Last Updated October 9, 2023, 12:05 (BST)
Created September 24, 2020, 13:48 (BST)
Contact Address Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9EB
Subject Hospital Care
Frequency Annually
Time frame of data and timeliness 10-year trends for data up to and including 31 March of the publication year
Coverage Covers all NHS Boards in Scotland
Completeness For details of the completeness of SMR00 see
Accuracy Please refer to Appendices A2 and A3 of the report.
Continuity of data Please refer to Appendices A2 and A3 of the report.
Concepts and definitions Please see the Glossary section within the report and the excel data tables which accompany this publication. Further details are also available on the Health and Social Care Data Dictionary: For detailed information on the data sources and clinical coding used within Hospital Care analysis please refer to the SMR Datasets, ISD(S)1 data collection and Terminology Services web pages:
Disclosure Disclosure control methods have been applied to the data in order to protect patient confidentiality, therefore some figures may not be additive. The PHS protocol on Statistical Disclosure Protocol is followed.
Revision statement All revisions to data within this release are planned and are due to incomplete data returns at the time of publication. All tables will be revised annually. In general, these revisions have minimal effect on the statistics. If data providers discover that data submitted for publication is incorrect, and/or missing/incomplete and is significant, this can be re-submitted and published in subsequent releases. Any changes will be highlighted within the notes on the affected table. Please see the PHS revisions policy for further details. https:
Official statistics designation The UK Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics, available on the UK Statistics Authority website.
Relevance and key uses of the statistics To compare areas and activity across Scotland and view trends over time. To allow NHS Board employees to compare activity levels nationally, e.g. NHS clinical consultants interested in their specialty figures by NHS Board, NHS information managers planning capacity, to assist in the development of Service Agreements between NHS Boards. To investigate the implications of common systemic diseases in Scotland as a basis for assessing health demands in the future. To assess whether patients were treated within or outwith their own NHS Board. To allow members of the public to readily access information on the number of hospital admissions for specific diagnoses or procedures that may be of personal interest to them. To assist students and universities conducting medical studies for research purposes. Private companies interested in hospital activity levels in Scotland such as pharmaceutical companies, consultancy companies employed by NHS Trusts in England, advertising/media companies on behalf of clients.
Format csv
Language English

"[Annual Publication] (

NHS England Outcomes and Performance, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)

NHS Wales hospital activity

Northern Ireland Hospital Statistics and Research"

comments powered by Disqus