What is a two week wait?

Your General Practitioner (GP) or dentist may refer you to us for an urgent appointment within two weeks of their assessment of you. Depending on your symptoms, this appointment may be to attend an outpatient clinic, a diagnostic test (such as an X-ray, CT scan or endoscopy) or a combination of both a clinic appointment and diagnostic test.

The Two-Week Wait appointment system was introduced so that anyone with symptoms that might indicate cancer could be seen by a specialist as quickly as possible. Attending this appointment within two weeks is vitally important and will allow you to benefit from:

  • Early reassurance that cancer has not been diagnosed or
  • an early diagnosis and earlier access to treatment.

Does this mean I have cancer?

Most patients referred under the Two-Week Wait appointment system do not have cancer but may have another condition requiring hospital diagnosis and treatment.

There are national referral guidelines for your GP or Dentist to use when making a decision about whether it is appropriate to refer you for an appointment within two weeks.

Will I need any tests?

You may require specialised tests. These may take place either before or during your first hospital appointment or may be organised for a later date. This will help the specialist understand the cause of your symptoms. You may be contacted initially by a nurse who will assess your symptoms and advise on whether an appointment or diagnostic test is the next appropriate step. Please be aware that you may have a physical examination at your appointment.

What do I need to do now?

  • Please take the earliest appointment offered to you. This includes your first appointment and any further tests or investigations. This helps us develop a treatment plan more quickly.
  • Make sure your GP or dentist has your correct address and telephone number, including mobile number as you may be called by the bookings team.
  • Please try not to cancel your appointment. Let our hospital know immediately if you are unable to attend your appointment so the time can be offered to someone else.  It is really important that you arrange an alternative date and time as soon as possible if you cancel.
  • At the end of your hospital appointment you will be given more information about what will happen next. This may include contact details of a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

For more information, please watch the video below.