There is a national target in the NHS to start treatment within 18 weeks of being referred by your GP.
Wherever possible you will wait less than this. Any hospital appointments, tests, scans or other procedures that you may need before being treated will all happen within this time limit.
However, there may be times when you cannot begin treatment within 18 weeks, such as:
When you choose a later appointment for your treatment, perhaps because of work commitments or a holiday.
When you are not medically fit to be treated for surgery to be carried out safely.
When your condition requires an extended period of testing and observation before a diagnosis can be made. This will only happen occasionally. This is called watchful waiting or active monitoring.
You can find more information at 18 Week Maximum Waiting Time from Referral to Treatment – What does this mean to you as a patient.
You can read our formal policy on the 18 Week Referral to Treatment Access Policy
You can find out more about waiting times on NHS Choices .
Keep your appointment
Please let us know as early as possible if you cannot attend your appointment or need to rearrange the date and time.
The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient. These rights cover how patients access health services, the quality of care you’ll receive, the treatments and programmes available to you, confidentiality, information and your right to complain if things go wrong.
Further information is available on NHS Choices .