about to breach

about to breach

A phrase used in the context of time-dependent healthcare targets in the UK, in which a particular type of patient interaction with health professionals appears unlikely to occur (“about to breach”) in the targeted time frame.

In A&E (casualty), patients are meant to be seen within four hours (the so-called 4-hour target), regardless of their level of acuity. Therefore, a patient who has been in A&E for 3 hours and 50 minutes, and not yet been seen, would be “about to breach”.

For cancer targets, a patient is flagged as “about to breach” if he or she has not had an appointment with the oncologist within 13 days of receiving an urgent referral from their GP and is said to have breached after 14 days (two-week/14-day target is usually abbreviated 2WW). For the 31-day target, definitive treatment of a newly diagnosed cancer with a curative or therapeutic intent that has not begun within 30 days of the decision is about to breach, and if not begun by 31 days, has breached. For the 62-day target, definitive treatment of a newly diagnosed cancer with a curative or therapeutic intent that has not begun within 61 days of the GP referral for suspected cancer is about to breach, and if not begun by 62 days, has breached.