Referral to treatment

The NHS constitution outlines your right to safe care, provided by someone you can trust, and within an acceptable time.

If you think you’ve been waiting longer than expected, do let us know. Email our patient advice team.

18 weeks referral to treatment (RTT)

When you’re referred to us by your GP or other healthcare professional, we need to diagnose your condition and start treatment within 18 weeks of your first appointment.

Sometimes, your treatment will start after 18 weeks because:

  • we need to monitor you or your condition
  • you choose to wait longer than 18 weeks

If we cannot start your treatment within 18 weeks due to our capacity, you have the right to see another healthcare provider who can. Most of the time, your new appointment will be with another NHS organisation, and we’ll always work with you to find the right place for you.

You can always choose to go back to your GP for a new referral or further advice – the choice is yours.

Cancer referrals (2WW)

If your GP refers you to us because they suspect you may have cancer, you can expect that your first outpatient appointment with us will be within two weeks of the referral date.

Your GP will also use the same urgent referral process for breast symptoms, even if cancer isn’t suspected.

If we confirm you have cancer, you shouldn’t have to wait longer than 31 days from when we decide you need treatment, to when your treatment starts.

Find out more about your cancer diagnosis at

How you can help

In general

Keep us up-to-date with your contact details and address so we can keep in touch

Before your GP sends a referral

Let your GP know if there are any dates you cannot do within 18 weeks due to travel or other commitments – we can send you an appointment date that suits you.

When you get our appointment letter

Let us know if you can’t come to your appointment. We can offer your slot to someone else.

If you do not attend your appointment

You may be referred back to your GP if you:

  • cancel your appointment for a second time
  • do not attend your appointment without telling us

Cancel or change your appointment