Commenting on the publication by Public Health Scotland of quarterly acute hospital activity and NHS beds information, Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

These data indicate that hospital activity across a range of services including outpatient attendances, inpatient and day patient admissions, and elective admissions to acute services has increased. It is of particular note that we have seen a 19.8% increase in elective admissions. Clearly, as our health service works hard to speed delivery of needed care, these improvements are welcome.

Although there are a complex set of reasons for this change, including a ‘catch-up’ period and a return to normal services after COVID-19, they do highlight the need to ensure that increased activity is matched by appropriate staffing levels.

Ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the RCPE said that we require data-modelling to plan how many medical training places, across each specialty, Scotland needs to meet future care needs. We support the desire to increase training at undergraduate and postgraduate level within Scotland, but, in the intermediate term also want to see government make use of programmes like the Medical Training Initiative to recruit medical staff from abroad.

Our population is ageing. Care needs and burden of disease are set to increase accordingly. We require greater investment in all staff – in both health and social care, and across all health professional groupings.