Executive Summary

The policy describes how the Trust manages access to its key services and ensures fair treatment for all patients. The successful management of patient waiting lists is key to achieving Department of Health Operating Framework objectives in reducing waiting times and improving Patient Choice.

This document is intended to be used by all staff in the local health economy dealing with waiting list management. It will ensure that patients will be treated in order of clinical priority, and that patients of the same clinical priority will be seen in turn. It will also help provide equity of access within specialties across sites throughout the Trust.

The NHS Plan emphasised that what patients want is effective, appropriate health care without having to wait an unacceptably long time. It set out targets for reducing waiting times for both outpatients and inpatients.

The NHS Constitution 2010 provides patients with legal entitlements with regards to their waiting times for treatment from 1st April 2010. In particular, patients have the right to start definitive treatment within 18 weeks for Consultant-led elective care and to be seen at an outpatient appointment within 2 weeks for urgent suspected cancer referrals.

The purpose of this policy is to state the arrangements for the management of waiting lists. It includes guidelines and procedures to ensure that waiting lists are managed effectively, a high quality of service to patients is maintained, and optimum use is made of resources at all locations within the Trust.

The policy is not intended to replace local and departmental operational policies and procedures, but act as a framework to support them. It will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it accurately reflects changing local, regional and national priorities. The shift in the operational environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic is reflected in policy adjustments herein.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Zviko Kangara, Head of Performance
Julian Ruse, Associate Director of Performance
Ratified by: Trust Executive Committee
Date Ratified: July 2022
Date Issued: March 2023
Review Date: July 2023
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Zviko Kangara, Head of Performance


See also:

  • Any relevant and prevalent national, ICS, trust policies / guidelines or procedures as the Joint Access Policy is not applied in isolation.


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