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Health Waiting Time Statistics

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:

  • 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, which we hope 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 A&E 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 of which 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.