UK Government

Department of Health (National): Statistical press notice: Direct access audiology referral to treatment (RTT) waiting times data – December 2010

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2011 11:15 GMT

Main Points

  • Data are published on Direct Access Audiology patients whose referral to treatment (RTT) pathways were completed during December 2010 (completed pathways) and on those patients who were still waiting at the end of December 2010 (incomplete pathways).
  • In total, 31,932 patients for whom English commissioners are responsible completed their Direct Access Audiology RTT pathway during December 2010. Of these, the average (median) waiting time was 4.9 weeks, the 95th percentile waiting time was 15.5 weeks and 99.4% were seen within 18 weeks.
  • At the end of December 2010, 49,134 patients were awaiting Direct Access Audiology treatment. Of these, the average (median) waiting time was 4.9 weeks and the 95th percentile was 14.5 weeks.
  • University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust failed to submit any Direct Access Audiology RTT data this month.
  • Table 1 shows average (median) waiting times, 95th percentile waiting times and the percentage of patients whose Direct Access Audiology RTT pathway was completed within 18 weeks by SHA. Table 2 shows Direct Access Audiology RTT waiting time trends from October 2008 to December 2010 for completed and incomplete pathways.

Statistical Notes

1. Direct Access Audiology Referral to Treatment (RTT) times

Direct Access Audiology (DAA) RTT data is collected from NHS providers (NHS Trusts and other providers) and signed off by commissioners (Primary Care Trusts).

The data collection is in two parts:

Part 1 – Completed pathways

Part 2 – Incomplete pathways

The return includes all patients whose RTT clock stopped at any point in the reporting period. A column has been provided to enter data for patients whose length of DAA RTT period is unknown, i.e. patients who have had a clock stop during the month but where the clock start date is not known.

2. Provider and Commissioner based data

Commissioner based returns reflect data on a responsible population basis, which is defined as:

  • all those patients resident within the PCT boundary; plus
  • all patients registered with GPs who are members of the PCT, but are resident in another PCT; minus
  • All patients resident in the PCT, but registered with a GP who is a member of another PCT

Provider based returns cover patients for whom English commissioners are responsible.

3. Average (median) and 95th percentile waiting times

The median is the mid-point of the waiting times distribution (i.e. the 50th percentile) and can be interpreted by saying that 50% of all patients, whose RTT clock stopped during the month, were treated within this time.

The 95th percentile is another statistical measure of the waiting time distribution. It can be interpreted by saying that 95% of patients, whose clock stopped during the month, were treated within this time with one in twenty patients waiting longer than this time for treatment.

It should be noted that medians and percentiles times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits.

4. Changes to the published Direct Access Audiology RTT statistics – feedback welcomed

The ‘Revision to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2010/11’, published in June 2010, stated that performance management of the 18 weeks waiting time target by the Department of Health has ceased. New statistical measures, the median and 95th percentile Direct Access Audiology RTT waiting times, are being published every month to enable a fuller package of measures for the NHS, patients and the public to monitor waiting times for NHS treatment.

The percentage of patients treated within 18 weeks will continue to be published alongside these new measures as it is still of interest to NHS organisations, patients and the public.

We welcome feedback on the content and presentation of RTT statistics within this Statistical Press Notice and those published on the DH website. If anyone has any comments on this, or any other issues regarding RTT data and statistics, then please email

Notes to editors


1. Full details of DAA RTT data for individual organisations is available at:

2. Press enquiries contact:
Press Office, Department of Health, Telephone: 020 7210 5221

3. The Government Statistical Service (GSS) statistician responsible for producing these data is:

Mark Svenson
Knowledge and Intelligence
Department of Health
Room 4E63, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE


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