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How long do patients wait for hospital treatment after referral by a GP? Under the NHS Constitution for England, patients have a legal right to start consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral for non-urgent conditions. This note presents data, charts and maps on the number of people treated, waiting times by NHS area team and NHS provider, and data on individual treatment specialisms. An outline of data for Wales and Scotland is also presented.

The percentage of patients waiting less than 18 weeks for treatment involving admission to hospital fell below the 90% target for much of 2014. The 95% target for non-admitted patients has also been breached on two occasions. In late 2014 these drops were in line with a waiting list initiative involving a ‘managed breach’ of targets and a suspension of some penalties for failing to meet the targets.

Performance also fell on the incomplete (waiting list) measure in 2014, though this target is still being met as of January 2015. Waiting lists for hospital treatment reached their highest level in six years in Jun 2014. While the waiting list has since fallen in number by around 7%, its level remains higher than at any time between April 2008 and March 2014.

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