ROUND-THE-CLOCK surgery could be introduced in plans to cut NHS waiting times to a maximum of 18 weeks.
The plans were being unveiled by Tony Blair today.
The Prime Minister was accompanying Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt on a visit to a London hospital to highlight efforts to meet the Government target.
And his message was being boosted by a commitment from 13 NHS trusts across the country to hit the target a year early.
Other measures hospital bosses are being encouraged to consider are sending more patients abroad and increasing the use of the private sector.
A nationwide campaign is to be launched in March to focus the activities of all NHS staff and patients on cutting waiting times.
Mr Blair hopes the average wait, from referral by a GP to an operation could be cut to seven or eight weeks.
Ms Hewitt said: "This is about the NHS helping change people's lives by improving care and cutting unnecessary delays.
"This will lead to a much better experience for patients. Our NHS staff are eager to ensure the very best care is available.
"The moves announced today show that the NHS believes that this can be achieved. They are keen to lead the transformation of services required to deliver faster treatment and improve patient care."
Health minister Andy Burnham was today visiting Manchester, one of the areas promising to meet the target by the end of this year.
He said: "Having driven down waiting times to their lowest ever it is the right time to press for even further improvements to patients.
"The improvements will be achieved by NHS staff, clinicians and managers working together locally to understand how they can reduce unnecessary delays, rather than being told what to do and how to do it from Whitehall."