Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times Guidance

The responsibility for publishing these statistics has transferred to the NHS Commissioning Board. From the 1st April 2013 these statistics will be found here:

Click here to return to main RTT page

The NHS Operating Framework for 2012/13 retains the Referral to Treatment (RTT) operational standards that 90 per cent of admitted and 95 percent of non-admitted patients should start consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks of referral. In order to sustain delivery of these standards, 92 per cent of patients who have not yet started treatment should have been waiting no more than 18 weeks. An updated and consolidated Rules Suite to support the consistent continuing collection of referral to treatment data is available below.

The following guidance documents and rules were updated in January 2012.

Consultant-led RTT Clock Rules Suite

RTT Rules Suite (PDF, 206K)

Additional Guidance

How to Measure (PDF, 112K)
RTT FAQs (PDF, 140K)
Reviewing Pathways Over 18 Weeks (PDF, 87K)
Planned patients and RTT measurement (DOC, 66K)
RTT Reporting – patients who transfer between NHS Trusts (PDF, 15K) (Guidance on reporting RTT waiting times for patients who wait longer than 18 weeks who transfer between NHS Trusts)
RTT Assurance Data Checks (PDF, 54K)
Patient initiated clock pauses guidance – Oct 2012 (PDF, 54K)

Other Information

Guide to waiting times for patients
The Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012/13

Previous Referral to Treatment consultant-led waiting times rules

The Operating Framework also states that the NHS Constitution provides patients with the right to start consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral for non-urgent conditions. Organisations should refer to the 18 weeks Rules Suite that was in effect when the The Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities (Waiting Times) Directions 2010 came into place, when carrying out their Duty to have regard to the guidance set out in the Directions enforcing the legal right to access treatment within maximum waiting times. The previous rules suite can be found below.

Previous Executive Summary (PDF, 26K)
Previous Definitions (PDF, 62K)
Previous National Clock Rules (PDF, 26K)
Previous How to Apply (PDF, 151K)
Directions setting out the legal requirements can be found here

Data Completeness Methodology Papers

Prior to April 2011 a data completeness score for each organisation was calculated and published alongside the Consultant-led RTT data. The data completeness measure was important in the infancy of the RTT collection as it provided an estimate of data coverage for each organisation and was used to highlight organisations submitting unusual numbers of RTT periods. The calculation of a central data completeness measure was removed in April 2011. The methodology papers can be found below for reference.

RTT Completeness Methodology (Nov 08) – Final (DOC, 67K)
Further Refinements to the Indicators of Completeness of Referral to Treatment date (May 2008) (DOC, 65K)
Refinements to the Indicators of Completeness of Referral to Treatment date (March 2008) (DOC, 564K)
Indicators of Completeness of Referral to Treatment date (November 2007) (DOC, 195K)
RTT Methodology Paper (June 2007) (DOC, 98K)

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