The third annual report of the national statistics on waiting times for suspected and diagnosed cancer patients in the English NHS produced by the Department of Health was released on 20 July 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. The report contains a summary of the published quarterly statistics in 2011-12.
Following its independent assessment, the United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated the statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
- meet identified user needs;
- are well explained and readily accessible;
- are produced according to sound methods, and
- are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
Waiting times for cancer services – 2011-12
The key points from the annual report are:
All cancer two week wait
- In 2011-12, 95.9% of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer by their GP were seen by a specialist within 14 days of referral.
Two week wait for symptomatic breast patients (cancer not initially suspected)
- In 2011-12, 95.9% of patients urgently referred by their GP with exhibited breast symptoms (where cancer was not initially suspected) were seen by a specialist within 14 days of referral.
31-day (diagnosis to first treatment) wait for all cancers
- In 2011-12, 98.4% of patients receiving their first definitive treatment for cancer began that treatment within 31 days, all cancers.
- 99.2% of patients receiving first definitive treatment for breast cancer in 2011-12 began their treatment within 31 days of diagnosis.
62-day (urgent GP referral to first treatment) wait: all cancers
- In 2011-12, 87.3% of patients receiving first treatment for cancer following an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer began treatment within 62 days of referral, all cancers.
- 97.6% of patients receiving first treatment for breast cancer following an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer started their treatment within 62 days of referral in 2010-11.
62-day wait for first treatment following referral from an NHS cancer screening service: all cancers
- In 2011-12, 94.0% of patients receiving first definitive treatment for cancer following referral from an NHS cancer screening service began treatment within 62 days of that referral.
62-day wait for first treatment from consultant upgrade
- In 2011-12, 93.6% of patients who received first treatment for cancer following a consultant’s decision to upgrade their priority began treatment within 62 days of that decision.
31-day wait for second or subsequent treatment
- In 2011-12, 97.5% of patients waited 31 days or less for second or subsequent treatment, where the treatment modality was surgery.
- In 2011-12, 99.7% of patients waited 31 days or less for second or subsequent treatment, where the treatment modality was an anti-cancer drug regimen.
- In 2011-12, 98.2% of patients waited 31 days or less for second or subsequent treatment, where the treatment modality was a course of radiotherapy.
*Erratum – these documents have been amended to correct an error in the figures in section 3.3 of the report on page 10.
Contact address and email
You can obtain further details about the statistics published in this section or comment on the section by contacting the following address:
Cancer Waiting Times Team
Department of Health
Wellington House (Area 411)
133-155 Waterloo Road