In April 2010 the NHS Constitution became law and the Department of Health published the NHS Constitution which sets out the principles of the NHS and your rights as an NHS patient.
The seven key principles guide the NHS in all it does. They are underpinned by the core NHS values which have been derived from the extensive discussions with staff, patients and the public. An in-depth explanation about each principle can be found in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution.
No patient should wait longer than 18 weeks from referral to hospital treatment, whether this is in an inpatient or outpatient setting and includes completion of all diagnostic tests required prior to treatment commencing.
Waiting times are a visible and public indicator of efficiency. Efficiency and quality are often the basis on which some patients may make a decision on their choice of provider.
The successful management of patients who are waiting for elective treatment is the responsibility of a number of key individuals and organisations including General Practitioners, Hospital Clinicians, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Trust Managers. If patients, who are waiting for treatment, are to be managed effectively it is essential for everyone involved to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
This policy defines those roles and responsibilities and establishes a number of good practice guidelines to assist staff with the effective management of the 18 week pathway experience incorporating the outpatient, inpatient and diagnostic waiting lists.