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Supporting Guidance Standard 5.1

Health and Care Standards

Supporting Guidance

Standard 5.1 Timely Access


What is the Standard about?

All aspects of care are provided in a timely way ensuring that people are treated and cared for in the right way, at the right time, in the right place and with the right staff


Who is it for?

All individuals and health services in all settings

In relation to the standard criteria (in bold) the following key questions need to be considered:

People’s health outcomes are monitored in order to ensure they receive care in a timely way.

  • What outcome measures do you use locally to monitor effectiveness of your access to appropriate timely healthcare?
  • How do you assure your board/organisation that clinical outcomes are not affected by non-achievement of national timely targets?
  • How do you assure that the individual needs of patients, service users and carers are taken into account so that they understand their role in receiving timely access?
  • How do you link lessons learnt from clinical audits and waiting time issues to ensure that clinical outcomes are not being compromised by non-delivery of access targets, either national and or clinical targets?
  • How does the organisation share best practice between areas who evaluate well with delivering effective patient access and areas that do not evaluate as well?

All aspects of care are provided, including referral, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, transfer of care and discharge including care at the end of life, in a timely way consistent with national timescales, pathways and best practice.

  • How do you ensure that the following aspects of care are provided in a timely way, consistent with any national timescales: in particular referral to treatment (RTT), cancer waiting times, stroke bundles, mental health measures, unscheduled, A&E measures and WAST measures?
  • How do you assure that the pathway from referral through to discharge is effective and timely at all stages to maximise outcome, including effective communication between professionals throughout the pathway?
  • How do you ensure reasonable adjustments are made to ensure access?
  • How do you audit compliance with national delivery plans, timescales and best practice and make necessary improvements?
  • How do you involve patients in the development of patient pathways?

Conditions are diagnosed early and treated in accordance with clinical need.

  • How do you ensure that primary care services are supported to provide early diagnosis through timely access to tests, advice and reports?
  • Have you agree joint referral guidance to support primary care and secondary care to identify what is needed to ensure effective treatment pathways?
  • Is the guidance actively promoted through opportunities such as shared CPD?
  • Do you audit and review clinical pathways in regards to compliance, and do you have evidence on how you learn and improve?- for example, Focus on Pathways

Accessible information and support is given to ensure people are actively involved in decisions about their care.

  • Do you provide patient information to support any national or local pathways to support self care where relevant?
  • Does your information meet all good practice guidance related to easy read and needs of people with communication needs?
  • Have you tested your available information and support with users that they meet their needs?

There is compliance with the NHS Outcomes and Delivery framework relating to timely care outcomes.

  • How do you assure you have sufficient plans to deliver on all national access targets?
  • How do you assure that patients do not suffer harm from any non-delivery of access targets
  • How do you communicate with patients/users and carers their role in attending appointments and following instructions and the consequences on the achievement of access targets?


Legislation and Guidance


Service Development and Commissioning Directives


Palliative Care in Wales and Integrated Care Priorities

Welsh Assembly Government good practice in consent implementation guide: to consent to examination or treatment (2002)

Welsh Government Framework for Action on Independent Living (due 2013)