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“Improving Outcomes: a Strategy for Cancer”, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library, confirmed that the cancer waiting time standards have been retained within the national health service. These standards are in place to ensure patients with suspected cancer and diagnosed cancer are seen and treated within appropriate time scales.
The standards set out that there should be a maximum wait of 31 days between diagnosis and first definitive treatment for all cancers. The NHS is expected to deliver this in 96% of cases, allowing for patients who do not want to be treated or are unable to be treated within this time scale. In the most recent period for which statistics are available (quarter 3 2010-11), 98.5% of patients received their first definitive treatment within 31 days of diagnosis.