CANCER WAITING TIMES

Systematic review of audits undertaken to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the two-week waiting time policy for cancer referrals

Background

The aim of this systematic review was to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the two-week waiting time policy for cancer referrals and to inform a review of the cancer referral guidelines by NICE.

Findings

Most included clinical audits were poorly reported and their results demonstrated a wide variation in compliance with the guidelines. Poor reporting can seriously compromise the integrity of the audit process. Audit reports should be written up in sufficient detail to allow the reader to ascertain how the audit was conducted and to assess the validity of the results and how these will be used to improve existing practices and procedures. The methods by which clinical audits of site specific cancers are conducted and reported should be standardised across the NHS.

Conducted by: Ros Collins1, Ruth Lewis1, Adrian Flynn1, Michael Emmans Dean1, Lindsey Myers1, Paul Wilson1, Alison Eastwood1

1. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

Publications

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. A systematic review of cancer waiting time audits. CRD Report 27 Summary Report. York: University of York. 2005

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. A systematic review of cancer waiting time audits. CRD Report 27. York: University of York. 2005. Additional tables and figures

Collins R, Lewis R, Flynn A, Emmans Dean M, Myers L, Wilson P, Eastwood A. Improving the reporting of clinical audits in the NHS. Clin Gov. 2005;10(3):190-5

Lewis R, Collins R, Flynn A, Dean ME, Myers L, Wilson P, Eastwood A. A systematic review of cancer waiting time audits. Qual Saf Health Care. 2005;14(1):62-6

Posters

Wade R. A systematic review of clinical audits assessing cancer referral guidelines. Guidelines International Network: 3rd G-I-N Conference; 2005 December; Lyon, France

Funding

Commissioned by the Department of Health