Thirty-One-Day TargetA term of art used in the context of the UK’s cancer targets, created in the wake of the Calman Hine report. Pre-2009, once the decision to treat a cancer patient was made, the first definitive treatment (i.e., treatment with a curative or therapeutic intent) was to be delivered within 31 calendar days. Legitimate adjustments to the overall pathway were allowed for reasons such as patient non-attendance (did not attend—DNA), patient cancellation, patient deferral of admission, medical suspensions and social suspensions. The 31-day standard only applied to a diagnosis of a new primary cancer, and didn’t apply to recurrent or relapsed cancer. Post-2009, the 31-day standard applies to all cancers, irrespective of whether it was a newly diagnosed cancer or recurrent/relapsed cancer. The cancer care team is no longer allowed to adjust for patient DNA, patient cancellation or medical suspension. Pauses (“stopping the clock”) are only allowed for patients being treated electively (i.e., as an inpatient or day case).
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