What are maximum waiting times?
You have the right to start your consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral, unless you choose to wait longer, or it is clinically appropriate that you wait longer. This includes treatments where a consultant retains overall clinical responsibility for the service or team, or for your treatment. This means the consultant will not necessarily be present for each appointment, but will take overall responsibility for your care. The setting of your consultant-led treatment, for example whether hospital-based or in a community-based clinic, will not affect your right to treatment within 18 weeks.
If it is not possible to be seen within the maximum waiting time, the primary care trust (PCT) or strategic health authority (SHA) that commissions your treatment must investigate and offer you a range of suitable alternative hospitals or community clinics that would be able to see or treat you more quickly.
However, you will need to contact the original hospital, clinic or PCT first before alternatives can be investigated for you. Your PCT or SHA must take all reasonable steps to meet your request.
Patients with urgent conditions such as cancer and heart disease, will be able to be seen and receive treatment more quickly. For example, you have the right to be seen by a specialist within a maximum of two weeks from GP referral for urgent referrals where cancer is suspected.
Note: Referrals for investigations of breast symptoms where cancer is not initially suspected are not urgent referrals for suspected cancer, therefore, they fall outside the scope of this right
Hope this helps x x