This section provides information on the waiting times of people referred by GP with suspected cancer or breast symptoms and those subsequently diagnosed with and treated for cancer by the NHS in England.
These reports present the validated results of the monitoring of waiting times for cancer services in England. Information on the number of people who attended outpatient appointments within two weeks of an urgent referral by their GP for suspected cancer or breast symptoms. For patients with cancer, on the numbers who started treatment within 31 from Decision To Treat to First Definitive Treatment of cancer and 62 days from receipt of urgent GP referral for suspected cancer to First Definite Treatment of cancer are included for each organisation. The numbers who started some types of subsequent treatments within 31 days are also given for each organisation. Numbers of patients who were not seen or treated within the specified times are also included.
For data to March 2018 / Quarter 4 2017/18, monthly cancer waiting times data was classed as provisional and quarterly data classed as final, therefore the sum of the standalone months in a quarter do not necessarily match the standalone quarterly data.
From April 2018 / Quarter one 2018/19 onwards, monthly and quarterly data are synchronized. Both monthly and quarterly data are first released as provisional data, and subsequently finalised in line with the NHS England and NHS Improvement revisions policy. Each year, there are two revisions to cover from April to September data (published in January), and from October to March data (published in July).
The difference between the commissioner and provider data
The national levels of activity and performance of commissioner-based statistics on waiting times for suspected and diagnosed cancer patients may differ from the equivalent provider-based national statistics on cancer waiting times.
This is because the commissioner-based statistics only include those patients who can be traced back to an English commissioner using their NHS Number. As a result, the national calculated performance levels may differ slightly between the two datasets.
As the commissioner (Clinical Commissioning Groups) based statistics are derived from those data submitted by the providers of NHS cancer services, the provider-based National Statistics on waiting times for suspected and diagnosed cancer patients (published at the same time as these statistics) remain the most complete assessment of the performance of the English NHS.
To March 2019 the allocation was equally divided between first seen and treatment providers.
From April 2019 the allocation of patients on 62 day pathways which involve multiple providers is as set out in the national-cancer-waiting-times-monitoring-dataset-guidance-v11-sep2020
The example document Technical Annex – Patient Allocation (XLSX,48KB) accompanying the publication of April 2019 data shows the impact of this change at the provider level in April 2019. The national figures are unaffected by this change.
Clinical Review of Standards Field Test
Please see note below on the publication of data from August 2019 onwards.
28-Day Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS)
The 28-Day Faster Diagnosis Standard are published from April 2021 data in June 2021. Systems will be expected to meet the new Faster Diagnosis Standard (for all routes urgent suspected cancer, urgent breast symptomatic, and urgent screening referrals in aggregate) from Q3 2021/22, to be introduced initially at a level of 75%.
Monthly cancer waiting times statistics
From the 13th August 2015, monthly cancer waiting times statistics are published here. All monthly cancer waiting times previous to June 2015 are available in the time series section below.
Quarterly cancer waiting times statistics
The following files are a summary of the statistics. The files are presented as a summary of national level and by organization for provider and commissioner based data. In the national time series files (provider based), there are monthly and quarterly data.
Time series with revision
Cancer Waiting Times – Commissioner Time Series Apr 2011 – Jul 2021 with Revisions (XLSX, 7.3MB)
Cancer Waiting Times – National Time Series Oct 2009 – Jul 2021 with Revisions (XLSX, 117KB)
Cancer Waiting Times – Provider Time Series Oct 2009 – Jul 2021 with Revisions (XLSX, 6.6MB)
Provisional time series
Cancer Waiting Times – Commissioner Time Series Apr 2011 – Jul 2021 Provisional (XLSX, 7.3MB)
Cancer Waiting Times – National Time Series Oct 2009 – Jul 2021 Provisional (XLSX, 107KB)
Cancer Waiting Times – Provider Time Series Oct 2009 – Jul 2021 Provisional (XLSX, 6.6MB)
An archive of the standalone quarterly provider and commissioner time series files are available via the following pages under the Archived Quarterly Data section. Note, following the synchronization of monthly and quarterly data from April 2018, this information is contained in the monthly provider and commissioner time series.
Data extracts (Monthly provider based only)
The following files are data extracts by month from October 2009 to the most recent available data. These files provide levels of activity by standard, provider and cancer type.
From April 2018 onwards, these flat files initially contained the provisional data, and subsequently finalised in line with the NHS England and NHS Improvement revisions policy.
To March 2019 the allocation of patients on 62 day pathways was equally divided between first seen and treatment providers. From April 2019 the allocation of patients on 62 day pathways which involve multiple providers, the latest data extracts will reflect this change.
From April 2021 the 28-day Faster Diagnosis Standard (for all routes urgent suspected cancer, urgent breast symptomatic, and urgent screening referrals in aggregate) has been included. This standard is operational from Q3 2021/22. The standard can be identified by selecting ’28 Days FDS’ in column D. Additionally, the header name for column F has been updated to ‘CARE SETTING/REFERRAL ROUTE’ to accommodate the ’28 Days FDS (By Route)’ data.
Cancer Waiting Times Apr-Jul 2021 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSX, 1083KB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2020-21 Data Extract (Provider) Final (XLSX, 2.4MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2019-20 Data Extract (Provider) Final (XLSX, 5.0MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2018-19 Data Extract (Provider) Final (XLSX, 5.6MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2017-18 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 1.9MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2016-17 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 2.0MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2015-16 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 2.0MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2014-15 Data Extract-Provider (XLSB, 2.1MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2013-14 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 2.0MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2012-13 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 1.8MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2011-12 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 1.8MB)
Cancer Waiting Times 2010-11 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 1.7MB)
Cancer Waiting Times Oct 2009 – Mar 2010 Data Extract (Provider) (XLSB, 776KB)
Annual cancer waiting times reports
Annual cancer waiting times reports, giving an overview of activity levels and performance, are available to download from Annual cancer waiting times reports
Further information about guidance and data submission dates
Please visit Cancer Waiting Times section on the NHS Digital website.
For further information about the published statistics, please contact us at:
Cancer Waiting Times Team
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Leeds LS2 7UE
Alternatively, if you are a patient wishing to discuss your own waiting time experience, you should contact your local commissioner, which you can find on the NHS website.