Health waiting time statistics

Technical differences between the four UK countries

Statisticians in all four home nations have collaborated as part of the UK Comparative Waiting Times Group. The aim of the group is to look across published health statistics, in particular waiting times, and compile a comparison of (i) what is measured in each country, (ii) how the statistics are similar and (iii) where they have key differences.

Areas being reviewed are:

  • Accident and Emergency (A&E)
  • cancer
  • diagnostics
  • referral to treatment
  • inpatients
  • outpatients

The group have produced a series of technical documents for each of the areas listed above. This will be used as a resource for statisticians, analysts, journalists, policy makers and researchers to understand the similarities and differences for each country.

The first document to be produced by the group was for accident and emergency waiting times. This was chosen first because it is an area which generates a lot of media interest. A lot of time has already been spent by each country answering questions on the perceived differences in performance between countries. Some can be explained by different data capture and different ways of measuring, and therefore we hope that this document will be a vital source for detailing these differences in the future.

The documents follow a standard format and the technical detail has been simplified to allow for a broader range of users, although inevitably some technical and specialist information is necessary to provide a robust comparison.

Due to new accessibility requirements the waiting times documents had to be removed from this website. The publications are available upon request. If you would like to receive an excel copy of any of the publications, please contact us on

Available publications:

  • UK Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting times
  • UK cancer waiting times
  • UK inpatient, outpatient and referral to treatment waiting times
  • UK diagnostic waiting times



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