Our quality story

Maximum waiting times for cancer treatment following GP referral

If your GP suspects that you might have cancer, your treatment should begin within two months of referral to a hospital doctor. This includes the time taken to confirm your diagnosis and to agree a treatment plan.

What's the standard?

We are expected to ensure that at least 85% of patients begin their treatment within 62 days (two months) of being referred to us.

How are we doing?

  • September 2019 – 68% of our patients began their treatment within 62 days of being referred
  • August – 74%
  • July – 57.6%

We are working hard to ensure all patients are seen within 62 days, whether they are referred directly to Guy's and St Thomas', or are referred to us by another hospital for specialist treatment. We are working with the hospitals who send patients to us to make sure that these patients are referred earlier, as it is difficult for us to achieve this target, particularly for patients who have already waited 42 days or more, when we first see them.

Some cancers may be difficult to diagnose, and patients may require several tests before their treatment can begin. This can also make it difficult to start treatment with 62 days, although we are working hard to reduce waiting times for all patients.

How you can help us

Because Guy’s and St Thomas’ offers specialist diagnostic tests and treatments, many patients will see a doctor in their local hospital first. If you are referred to Guy’s and St Thomas’, you can help us by letting us know immediately if you are unable to keep your appointment. We will then offer you an alternative date and give your appointment to another patient.

You can change your appointment online or by phone.

Find out more

For more information about waiting times, see the NHS website.

Got a question?

If you have a question about or comment on this information, please contact the communications team at communicationsteam@gstt.nhs.uk.

of our patients began their treatment within two months of being referred in September 2019.

Improving our cancer services

Our Cancer Centre at Guy's and Queen Mary's Hospital brings together cancer services in one place, helping to reduce unnecessary waiting times. Watch our film to find out more.


Page last updated: November 17 2019