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.

8. Active Clinical Referral Triage (ACRT)

Active Clinical Referral Triage (ACRT)


Active Clinical Referral Triage (ACRT) is the process whereby, following a new outpatient referral into secondary care, a senior clinician reviews a patient’s record and carries

out enhanced vetting to place the patient on the most appropriate pathway. In broad terms, outcomes include being removed from the list, either with or without the option to ‘opt in’ at a later date, or remaining on the list and waiting for an appointment. All Active Clinical Referral Triage (ACRT) outcomes should be recorded to allow for PHS data collection which will allow the impact of this process to be measured.

ACRT applies at each stage of the patient journey. Vetting outcomes should be assigned:

  • at the initial referral stage.
  • if an opt-in referral is received.
  • following diagnostic test results.
  • if the patient transfers to another specialty or service.


Email: waitingtimespolicy@gov.scot

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