stopping the clock
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stopping the clockA UK term of art used in the context of NHS targets for timely diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions, especially invasive cancer. The clock starts on the day of the forward (“urgent”) referral from the patient’s GP for a diagnostic workup for a possible invasive cancer and stops on the day of the first definitive therapy which, according to the NHS cancer targets, should be no more than 62 days (two months).
The only mechanism for stopping the clock is related to the patient him- or herself, who may be on holiday or who may decide to forego treatment for various reasons, including diagnosis of an advanced cancer which is unlikely to respond to therapy.