Elective care programme

Definition and scope of programme

Elective care is planned care. The patient journey usually begins in primary care and can begin with a diagnostic procedure, before entering the secondary care system for either an opinion, diagnosis, treatment or procedure. This may also involve seeing clinicians in an intermediate community care setting. The patient should progress along a planned pathway where they are able to make decisions about their treatment.

The elective care programme covers the portfolio of projects across 41 specialties, such as ophthalmology, that seek to change some element of planned care or diagnostics. Elective care pathways or journeys are usually end to end starting with an initial appointment with a primary care practitioner such as your GP, dentist or optometrist. Assessment or treatment of the symptoms/complaint may take place in a variety of settings in primary, community or secondary care as necessary. Elective care pathways may result in the patient being transfered to an urgent (scheduled) or long term condition pathway. 


To optimise health outcomes for patients that have planned care by developing cost effective models of care based on integrated end to end pathways that can, where appropriate, deliver care closer to home, empower and enable patients to self manage, emphasise primary care prevention, eliminate waste and makes optimum use of new techniques and technologies.

Elective care projects

The elective care programme is currently looking at quality and improvement projects across a range of specialties including:

  • Audiology;
  • Cardiology;
  • Demand management;
  • Diagnostics;
  • Musculoskeletal physiotherapy;
  • Neurosurgery;
  • Ophthalmology;
  • Referral to treatment times; and
  • Womens and children.

Referral Management Service

The elective care programme works closely with the Referral Management Service (RMS). The RMS manages referrals for 58 GP practices across Cornwall with the exception of practices in the East of Cornwall who use our sister service known as the Devon Referral Support Services (DRSS). Further details of the RMS can be found here.