The 18-week target measures waiting times for hospital operations from a patient's first GP appointment and the DoH hopes every pathway to be within that time frame by the end of 2008.
Health minister Andy Burnham said that the 18-week target was an 'absolute priority' for the NHS and PBC must be used to achieve it.
'The 18-week target represents an end of waiting and waiting lists as we know it,' he told a conference of the NHS Confederation in London last month.
'It's the last leg of a long journey and a bridgehead to a different era in the NHS.'
He said that PBC was crucial to this, adding: ‘We won't get anywhere near developing this target unless clinical engagement runs through it - I hope we can break through some of the cynicism around targets.'
DoH primary care czar Dr David Colin-Thomé said that PCTs could support schemes that met the target without telling GPs. He said GPs were turned off by the mention of targets but PBC could 'achieve the target without actually saying "I want to achieve 18-weeks".'