The Scottish Government has set out the vision for a stronger NHS which will make better use of NHS capacity to deliver a better deal for patients.
A major element in achieving this vision will be the national waiting time guarantee - 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment Standard.
The 18 weeks standard
Reduced waiting times lead to better outcomes for patients. Achieving the 18 Weeks Standard will help to sustain a better quality of life for patients and help achieve the objective of a Healthier Scotland.
The 18 Weeks Standard is different from previous waiting times targets because it applies to the whole 'pathway' from referral up to the point that the patient is actually treated.
From December 2011, 18 weeks will be the maximum waiting time from referral to treatment for non-urgent patients, but most patients will be seen more quickly.