Dear Ed

Request for assessment of Cancer Wait Times statistics

Following the introduction of the new NHS waiting times cancer standards from 01 October 2023, we have made a number of changes to our cancer wait times statistics. The changes to the cancer waiting times publication are given on the cancer waiting times statistics publication page and were prominently mentioned in the first statistical release following the announcement. We have continued to give details of the changes in the statistical releases following the changes in the December publication.

Our development of the statistics was informed by programme developments and feedback received from the wider user community. The recent consultation had widespread support for the new completed standard measures. Feedback was received requesting further disaggregation by tumour type, and this is part of our changes to the statistics. No feedback was received requesting information to be published on the stock of patients waiting more than 104 days for treatment, therefore, balancing resource with user needs we do not plan to publish this information. We publish the distribution of the waited times for the 62-day combined completed standard, and this includes those who have waited more than 104 days for a treatment.

In accordance with Section 12(1) of the Statistics and Registration Act 2007, we would welcome a full assessment of these statistics given their continued high profile. We feel that the timing of this would be best once the statistics have bedded in. We anticipate this would be Autumn 2024 at the earliest.

We are copying this letter to our statistical governance team who are ready to pick up the next steps with the OSR team.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Svenson and Chris Roebuck