way that this target is measured changed at the end of December 2008 so
that patients who are too ill to have an operation are no longer taken
off the waiting list on medical grounds.
the period April to December 2008, we had three breaches to the 62 day
target. In two of these cases, patients had been referred to us having
already waited more than 62 days so were counted as breaches against
another NHS Trust. The remaining case was counted as a shared breach
with another NHS Trust.
first quarter of 2009, due to the new system of measurement, we had
three breaches to the 62 day target. Of these, two were reallocated to
another NHS Trust and one was counted as a shared breach with another
The 18 week wait
December 2008, the 18 week wait became the definitive target against
which NHS waiting times are measured. Existing waiting time targets
specify how long a patient should wait during each stage of their
treatment – from GP referral to outpatient appointment and from
decision to treat to inpatient admission. With this new target, waiting
is seen in a fundamentally different way and sets a maximum time of 18
weeks from the point of initial referral up to the start of any
The 18 week target is expected to eventually replace the individual outpatient and inpatient targets reported above.
have been set to allow for patient choice, patients not attending
appointments and clinical complexity. The operational standards of
delivery for the NHS are:
- 90 per cent of pathways where patients are admitted for hospital treatment should be completed within 18 weeks
- 95 per cent of pathways that do not end in an admission should be completed within 18 weeks.
Meeting the standards early
a concerted team effort and collaborative work with our referring
hospitals, we have made sustainable changes to clinical and
administrative processes which support patients accessing diagnostics
and treatment faster than before.
18 week standard for admitted patients was met and exceeded in
September 2008, three months ahead of schedule. For non-admitted
patients, the standard was met in December, the national deadline. We
also met 18 week data completeness standards.