Informing prioritisation of the backlog for elective surgery:
Studies of the impact of waiting for health care

Ana Castro, Veronica Dale, Karen Bloor, Su Golder, Nils Gutacker and Trevor Sheldon

App created by Joe Moss, York Health Economics Consortium

December 2022

Study Information

This interactive website presents studies located by a scoping review of existing literature on the effects of waiting for health care. A summary of our review methods and search strategies is available at

We used a two-staged approach to identify research evidence:

  1. A ‘review of reviews’ of the effect of waiting, mapping the conditions where reviews existed on to a list of the clinical areas where patients are most likely to face waits for surgery:

    • Hip replacement

    • Knee replacement

    • Cataract surgery

    • Hysterectomy

    • Prostatectomy

    • Cholecystectomy

    • Inguinal hernia repair

    • Femoral hernia repair

    • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)

    • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)

    • All cancer treatments

  2. A systematic review of primary studies for clinical areas where no systematic review was available.

We found 66 systematic review studies in stage 1 and 43 primary studies in stage 2. A number of the reviews included more than one condition and treatment. Review evidence of the impact of waiting on patient outcomes was far more common for cancers than for other conditions. Studies varied in terms of conditions and treatments, settings and systems, and (particularly for studies of cancer) stages of the clinical pathway. We assessed the quality of each study using appropriate checklists.
We hope this website will enable you to explore the volume, quality and findings of research evidence, from reviews where they exist and primary studies where they do not.

Identified Studies

Study filters

Use the following filters in order to refine the study tables.

Summary Table


Primary Studies Description


Reviews Description