Surgery waiting times

Surgery waiting times

Statement 5.8

Elective surgery for IBD should be performed as soon as the patient’s clinical status has been optimised and within 18 weeks of referral for surgery.

Why is it important?

Once a decision and referral has been made for non-emergency, consultant-led surgery to take place on the NHS, this should happen within 18 weeks of referral in England and Scotland, with longer targets in place in Wales and Northern Ireland. This is unless delaying the start of treatment is advisable to ensure better outcomes.

For IBD surgery, there may be a thorough process of assessment and optimisation but the operation should still ideally take place within this timeframe.

Due to pressures on the NHS, this does not always happen.

This is problematic because any delay will extend the period of anxiety that people can feel about surgery and has implications for quality of life as well as clinical outcomes.

That’s why it’s important that the IBD team advocate for the patient to prioritise IBD surgery in accordance with clinical need. Where possible, they should ensure that any delays are avoided.

Many patients with IBD require surgery at a specific time to achieve optimal outcomes. Surgery should happen during this ‘goldilocks’ period of optimisation and delays due to process should be avoided.

Prof Steven Brown, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon