Hospitals in Scotland dealt with thousands more patients at the end of 2013 compared to the previous year, figures show.
The number of patients needing inpatient or day case treatment increased 1.4 per cent to 379.425 in October to December compared to the same period in 2012. The number of outpatient appointments increased 1.4 per cent to 1,177,324.
The number of hospital beds available to patients also saw a small increase of 1.1 per cent to 16,223, compared to the previous year, though numbers are still down on the more than 16,500 at the end of March last year.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “The 1 per cent rise in acute inpatient and day case discharges for the period ending December 2013 was at a point when health boards experience winter pressures. Yet despite this our NHS still brought levels of Clostridium difficile to the lowest on record, patient satisfaction remains high and has delivered safer care than ever before.”
Meanwhile, an extra 1.8 million items were handed out on prescription last year in Scotland. The number of prescription items dispensed in 2013 was 98.4 million, compared to 96.6m in 2012 – a rise of 1.9 per cent.
This follows previous large increases in prescriptions following the dropping of charges in Scotland in 2011.