The 18 Weeks operational standard is set out in the Operating Framework for the NHS in England published by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The 18 week referral to treatment pathway is about improving PATIENTS’ experience of the NHS - ensuring all PATIENTS receive high quality elective care without any unnecessary delay.
18 Weeks applies to pathways that do or might involve Consultant Led Activity, setting a maximum time of 18 weeks from the point of initial referral up to the start of any treatment necessary for all PATIENTS where it is clinically appropriate and where PATIENTS want it.
For further information on NHS waiting times, see the:
- NHS England website at Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times Rules and Guidance
- NHS website at Guide to NHS waiting times.