Referral to Treatment waiting times statistics, 2012 Annual report

National Statistics Office logoThe annual report on NHS Consultant-led Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting times produced by the Department of Health was released on 14th February 2013 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

The key points are:

  • The majority of RTT patients started treatment within 18 weeks of referral in 2012. The percentage of patients who started admitted treatment within 18 weeks at England level has been between 89.6% and 93.7% since January 2009. While the percentage of patients who started non-admitted treatment within 18 weeks has been between 97.0% and 98.2%.
  • The percentage of incomplete pathways – patients still waiting to start treatment at the end of the month – within 18 weeks has risen from 91.4% at the end of December 2011 to 94.5% at the end of December 2012.
  • In 2012, the admitted and non-admitted standards were met nationally in all 12 months of the calendar year. A new standard for incomplete pathways was introduced from April 2012. This standard was met early nationally and in all 12 months of the calendar year.
  • In 2012, the average patient waited around eight and a half weeks to start admitted treatment, four weeks to start non-admitted treatment, and the average patient waiting for treatment at the end of the month had been waiting around five and a half weeks.
  • The number of RTT patients who started consultant-led treatment in 2012 has been similar to previous years’ levels of activity. Each month around 300,000 RTT patients start admitted treatment and around 870,000 start non-admitted treatment.
  • The numbers of RTT patients waiting at the end of each month has been around 2.5 million patients since October 2008. There is a seasonal trend, where there are fewer patients waiting during winter – around 2.4 million – and more patients waiting during summer – around 2.7 million.

The full annual statistical report on consultant-led RTT waiting times can be found here.

Download full press release (PDF, 36K)
Download pre-release access list (PDF 7K)

We welcome feedback on the content and presentation of RTT statistics within the Statistical Press Notice and those published on the DH website. If anyone has any comments on this, or any other issues regarding RTT data and statistics, then please email

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods, and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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