Why wait longer? Tips for having your NHS surgery sooner

The maximum waiting time for non-urgent consultant-led treatments is 18 weeks, and if you have to wait longer this is known as a ‘breach’. With a little research and discussion with your GP or other referring clinician, it is possible to receive such treatment well within the 18-week maximum period.

Elderly couple talk to a woman about their NHS surgery
Tips on how to have your NHS surgery sooner

If you or a loved one are in pain and your wait for treatment is affecting your quality of life, read on to discover how you could have your NHS surgery sooner.

Although the maximum waiting time for non-urgent consultant-led treatments is 18 weeks, there are instances where this does not apply including – if you choose to wait longer; if it is in your interest to delay treatment so you can, say, lose weight or stop smoking; if your condition is better monitored than treated; if you fail to attend appointments that you chose from the choice available to you, or; you no longer need the treatment.

Sometimes operations are cancelled. If this happens at the last moment (on or after the date of admission) and due to non-clinical reasons, you should be offered another date within 28 days or have your treatment funded at a time and place of your choice. These rights do not apply if your operation is cancelled before your admission date, but it is still your right to start treatment within a maximum waiting time. If the cancellation means you are waiting for longer, you can ask the hospital or your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to move you to a different waiting list.

We offer free non-urgent NHS treatments within the recommended 18 weeks at our various treatment centres across the country – visit your local hospital’s website to see waiting times by treatment type and check if you could be seen sooner.