Maximising the use of the Urgent Suspected Cancer Referral Pathway (2 week waits)
The urgent suspected cancer pathway is a well established route of referral to specialist teams. Whilst some standards around waiting times are planned to be amended, it is anticipated that Cancer Waiting Times standards will remain unchanged. The Trust works hard to achieve the 2 week wait cancer standard on a monthly basis and have been successful in doing so. Unfortunately, our experience is that patients in general do not always understand the urgency of their referral and as a consequence often ask for their appointments to be rescheduled beyond the 14 day window. This seems to be a particular problem with patients referred to dermatology with a suspected skin cancer.
As we approach a time when many of our patients are planning holiday it feels timely to remind our primary care colleagues about the importance of ensuring that their patient will be available to be seen within the 14 days following referral. If you know that the patient will not be available in the 14 days following referral, please do not use this route for referral. We would also ask you to consider the information given to the patient about your suspicion and the subsequent urgency of the referral. We believe this will help to reduce the number of patients seeking appointments outside of the 14 day window and ensure that patients are making a truly informed choice if they choose to rearrange their appointment beyond 14 days