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Waiting for your treatment

Non Emergency Care and Waiting Times

The UHB is committed to ensuring that patients are treated in the right place, at the right time, by the right clinician.

This doesn’t always mean that seeing a consultant in a big specialist hospital, such as the University Hospital of Wales, is always the answer. 

For example, if you have back pain, conservative treatment, such as physiotherapy, may be more appropriate than invasive treatment, such as surgery. 

This type of treatment will usually be provided more locally, for example in a GP practice or a community hospital. 

Health Board staff will work with you to ensure you receive the best possible care, and to ensure your treatment provides you with the best possible outcome.  However, you too can play a part in this.  Taking regular exercise, eating healthily and not smoking will all contribute to your well-being.

Take a look at the Promoting Health section of our website for further information and advice about looking after yourself.

How Long Will You Have to Wait for Treatment?

Where you are referred to a consultant, your treatment will normally start no more than 26 weeks after the referral.  This isn’t always possible – there may be good clinical reasons for taking longer, such as monitoring your condition or doing investigations, so that when your treatment does start, it will be as successful as possible.  In the vast majority of cases, patients should wait no more than 36 weeks.

If you are a member of the armed forces (including the Territorial Army), you and the members of your family are also entitled to this guarantee.  If you are referred to us, any period for which you have waited for the same treatment at another UK hospital will be taken into account.  Please make us aware of these details as soon as possible so we can plan your treatment accordingly.

The 26 to 36 weeks targets above apply nationally, so it’s essential that they are measured in the same way across Wales.  The Welsh Government (WG) has set down a series of rules that the UHB has to follow to do this. 

In broad terms, this means that the period you as a patient have been waiting is the period that you have been ready and able to receive treatment.  For example, if you had agreed to have treatment but then booked a four week holiday, you would be regarded as having waited four weeks less in relation to the target.

How Can You Help?

As a patient, you have a key role to play in helping the UHB use its resources as effectively as possible, and ensure waiting times are as short as possible. 

Please remember

  • Let us know as far in advance as possible if you are unable to keep an appointment – it may then be possible to offer this slot to someone else. This means that the patient who backfills the slot (and that patient may be you) is waiting less time, and that resources (staff and equipment) are fully utilised. The section on changing your appointment will provide you with further information.
  • Follow any instructions given to you prior to attending, such as “nil by mouth” prior to surgery.  If you fail to do this, the appointment may have to be cancelled at short notice, and it will be too late to offer the slot to someone else.
  • Ensure we have your contact details, and advise us if any of your details change.
  • Let us know if you change your mind about having your treatment, or if you are receiving any part of your treatment privately.
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