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An indicator of the person's readiness to begin the process leading directly to being admitted to hospital for the awaited procedure, as represented by a code.


Data Element (this item)


This representation is based on the value domain for this data element, more information is available at " Readiness for care code N ".
Data Type Number
Format N
Maximum character length 1
Value Meaning Start Date End Date
Permissible Values 1 Ready for care
2 Not ready for care


Guide for use:

A patient may be 'ready for care' or 'not ready for care'. Ready for care patients are those who are prepared to be admitted to hospital or to begin the process leading directly to admission. These could include investigations/procedures done on an outpatient basis, such as autologous blood collection, pre-operative diagnostic imaging or blood tests. Not ready for care patients are those who are not in a position to be admitted to hospital. These patients are either:

  • staged patients whose medical condition will not require or be amenable to surgery until some future date; for example, a patient who has had internal fixation of a fractured bone and who will require removal of the fixation device after a suitable time; or
  • deferred patients who for personal reasons are not yet prepared to be admitted to hospital; for example, patients with work or other commitments which preclude their being admitted to hospital for a time.

Not ready for care patients could be termed staged and deferred waiting list patients, although currently health authorities may use different terms for the same concepts.

Staged and deferred patients should not be confused with patients whose operation is postponed for reasons other than their own unavailability, for example; surgeon unavailable, operating theatre time unavailable owing to emergency workload. These patients are still 'ready for care'.

Periods when patients are not ready for care should be excluded in determining 'Waiting time (at removal)' and 'Waiting time (at a census date)'.

National Health Data Committee


The dates when a patient listing status changes need to be recorded. A patient's classification may change if he or she is examined by a clinician during the waiting period, i.e. undergoes clinical review. The need for clinical review varies with the patient's condition and is therefore at the discretion of the treating clinician. The waiting list information system should be able to record dates when the classification is changed (metadata item Category reassignment date).

At the Waiting Times Working Group meeting on 9 September 1996, it was agreed to separate the metadata items Patient listing status, readiness for care and Clinical urgency as the combination of these items had led to confusion.


Related content

Relation Count
Use within a Question 0
As a numerator in an Indicator 0
As a denominator in an Indicator 0
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 0