Surgical specialties

The surgical specialty describes the area of clinical expertise held by the doctor performing the elective surgery. From 1 July 2016, the surgical specialty data element was revised to include Paediatric surgery.

For caveat information for these data see table 3.1, 3.2 and S3.1. Available to download from the data section of this report.

Changes over time

Between 2013–14 and 2017–18, admissions from elective surgery waiting lists increased for most of the 11 surgical specialties reported. The specialties with the greatest average annual increase were Urological surgery and Plastic and reconstructive surgery (both increasing by 4.3% per year) and Ophthalmology surgery (3.6%).

Over the same period, there was an average annual decrease in admissions for Cardiothoracic surgery (1.8%), General surgery (0.9%) and Gynaecology surgery (0.2%).

Comparisons over time should take into consideration the reporting of Paediatric surgery between 2016–17 and 2017–18.

Admissions by surgical specialty, 2017–18

In 2017–18, around 21% of patients were admitted for General surgery (on abdominal organs, including endocrine surgery and breast surgery) and about 15% were admitted for Orthopaedic surgery (on bones, joints, ligaments and tendons, including knee and hip replacements).

Where to go for more information

Information on waiting times by surgical specialty is available in Waiting times: Surgical specialty.

Information on data limitations and methods is available in Appendix A and Appendix B.