In the literature, tactical plans of elective patients aim at increasing hospital efficiency through a better resource utilisation, although hospitals claim that patient satisfaction, usually measured by the waiting time, is also important. In this regard, the purpose of this paper is to show how patient satisfaction can be associated with any tactical plan, by developing a method to compute exact waiting time distributions. We also present a procedure to calculate the exact levels of resource utilisation. Therefore, with our procedures, hospital managers can determine the operational performance of their tactical plan. We then explore two strategies to improve tactical plans in terms of waiting time: slack planning and smooth allocation. A case study based on data from a Dutch cardiothoracic surgery centre shows that slack planning leads to a trade-off between waiting time and hospital efficiency. When slack planning is combined to smooth allocation, additional improvements of the waiting time can be reached.