Waiting and Appointment Times [QSI Ref: XR-304]


Waiting time of patients prior to appointment.


Patients find waiting for an examination distressing. Unnecessary waiting reduces departmental efficiency and increases departmental congestion.

The Cycle

The standard: 

A locally agreed standard that 90% of patients should be called into the examination room within 10 minutes of their allocated appointment time.



Assess local practice


Percentage of patients who are called into the examination room within 10 minutes of their appointment time.

Data items to be collected: 

For each patient record on a short proforma:

• The appointment time allocated

• The actual time of the examination

• The identifiable reason for any delay

Suggested number: 

All for 1 week period.

Suggestions for change if target not met: 

• If waiting times are too long, then the allocation of the number of appointments in any one session should be reviewed. This may involve reorganisation of staff working hours

• Avoid allocating multiple patients to the same appointment time

• Review arrangements for patients changing their clothes prior to examination

• Recruit Imaging Support Workers


• Prospective data recording

• Reception clerks to fill in the proforma

• Radiographer: 2 hours for recording of information

No other expense necessary, although a time/date stamp might be helpful in those departments without an electronic facility for recording booking in time.

  1. The Audit Commission. Improving your Image. How to Manage Radiology Services More Effectively. London: Audit Commission, 1995.

  2. Patient’s Charter (1995). London: National Charter Standards, Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS.

Published Date: 
Monday 7 January 2008

Last Reviewed: 
Wednesday 20 January 2021