NHSScotland waiting times guidance: November 2023

This guidance replaces the previous waiting times guidance (2012) to support health boards in the delivery of the national waiting times standards. The guidance will continue to make sure that patients who are on waiting lists are managed fairly and consistently across NHSScotland.

Annex 7 – Exclusions from 18 Weeks Referral-To-Treatment Standard

Referrals to the following services or some specific procedures are currently excluded from the 18 Weeks Referral-To-Treatment Standard, and therefore do not trigger clock starts.

  • Direct referrals to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs). However, AHPs may deliver services that are part of the overall waiting time standard e.g. as part of a consultant-led service.
  • Assisted conception services.
  • Dental treatment provided by undergraduate dental students.
  • Direct access referrals to Diagnostic Services where the referral is not part of a ‘Straight to Test’ referral pathway as there is no transfer of clinical responsibility to the consultant-led team.
  • Exceptional Aesthetic Procedures which have been specifically excluded in the CMO(2019)05 - Exceptional Referral Protocol (previously known as the Adult Exceptional Aesthetic Referral Protocol) – refresh April 2019 (scot.nhs.uk).
  • Genitourinary Medicine (GUM).
  • Homoeopathy.
  • Obstetrics.
  • Organ and tissue transplants.

Mental Health services are not under the standards contained in this guidance, unless this requires planned admission to hospital for inpatient or day case treatment.


Email: waitingtimespolicy@gov.scot

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