The average median waiting time for in-patient treatment has fallen from 8.3 weeks in April 2005 to 4.0 weeks in April 2008. The average median waiting time for first consultant-led out-patient appointment has fallen from 4.4 weeks to 2.2 weeks over the same period.
Referral to treatment data were published for the first time in March 2007 for admitted patients and in August 2007 for non-admitted patients. These data show that 48 per cent of patients admitted for treatment and 76 per cent of non-admitted patients started treatment within 18 weeks from referral. Latest figures for March 2008 show 87 per cent of admitted patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks and 93 per cent of non-admitted patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks.
By the end of December 2008, no patient will have to wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their general practitioner for treatment unless they choose to do so, or it is clinically appropriate.