This dataset presents the validated results of the monitoring of waiting times for cancer services in England. Information on the number of people who attended out-patient appointments within two weeks of an urgent referral by their GP for suspected cancer or breast symptoms and, for patients with cancer, on the numbers who started treatment within 31 and 62 days are included for each organization. The numbers who started some types of subsequent treatments within 31 days are also given for each organization. Numbers of patients who were not seen or treated within the specified times are also included.
More than one in three people will develop cancer at some time in their lives and one in four will die of cancer, as such the quality and outcomes of NHS cancer services attract considerable interest. The timely and effective delivery of NHS services for cancer is a priority for the Department. The Revision to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2010/11 stated that:
“Patients should still be able to expect the NHS to continue to deliver improvements in access and quality. It will remain important, for example, for patients with cancer or its symptoms, to be seen by the right person, with appropriate expertise, within the current performance standard timescales”.
Therefore, Cancer Waiting Times statistics covering referrals, diagnosis and treatment are one of the central metrics for enabling better public understanding of NHS performance in the delivery of these services, therefore enabling patients to make choices about their care.
These aggregate national statistics are sourced from the Cancer Waiting Times Database (CWT-Db), a secure system developed and hosted by NHS Connecting for Health. The operational model of the CWT-Db allows a period of time for trusts uploading these data to enter the system and check that patient records have been correctly transposed and interpreted by the system. 25 working days after the end of a quarter, an aggregate extract is taken from the CWT-Db, which forms the basis of these statistics.
These statistics are shared as rapidly as possible, subject to the necessary validation checks and assurance that nationally reported performance figures for the various waiting times standards have been correctly calculated.