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June 08, 2007

That NHS Waiting List

So, for those who don't know, this is how it works:

Under successive governments, the NHS measured outpatient and inpatient waiting times separately. The outpatient clock started ticking when a GP made a referral and stopped when the patient went in for a first appointment with a consultant. The maximum delay at this stage is 13 weeks in England.

The inpatient clock started when the consultant decided hospital treatment was needed and stopped when the patient was treated. The maximum inpatient delay is six months. Until now, the NHS did not measure the time patients waited after the first outpatient appointment before going on the inpatient list. This "hidden" delay could last months.

By measuring two entirely separate things, it's possible to claim that all targets are being met and yet still leave people waiting a year for an operation. God bless socialized medicine, eh?

June 8, 2007 in Health Care | Permalink


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