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About the Target

The Ministry is working with the health sector to ensure patients have timely access to appointments, tests which detect cancer and cancer treatment. This work is being done by the Faster Cancer Treatment programme which aims to improve the quality and timeliness of services for patients along the cancer pathway. The Faster Cancer Treatment programme also links with other programmes of work that will improve cancer diagnostic and treatment services.

Significant progress has been made in improving access to cancer services, leading to better outcomes for patients and a better experience of care for patients and their families.

Continued improvements will help ensure patients receive the highest quality, timely treatment in a way that meets their individual circumstances.

Prompt treatment is more likely to ensure better outcomes for patients. Lengthy waiting times can add to the stress on patients and family at an already difficult time, so it is important that people have a clear expectation of how quickly they will receive treatment.

The Faster Cancer Treatment programme is designed to reduce waiting times for appointments, tests and treatment and standardise care pathways for cancer patients, wherever they live. The programme links with the whole range of initiatives designed to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and support for patients and their families.

Key initiatives:

  • implementing the faster cancer treatment indicators and new faster cancer treatment target
  • developing and implementing national tumour specific standards
  • implementing the cancer service improvement fund
  • implementing the cancer nurse coordinator roles
  • improving coverage and functionality of multidisciplinary meetings

The range of initiatives in the faster cancer treatment programme will:

  • improve the diagnosis, treatment and experience of care for patients with cancer
  • improve clinical outcomes
  • improve the coordination of patient care and streamline access to different treatment and services
  • improve the timeliness of referrals
  • ensure best practice in treatment and care for specific types of tumour
  • enable international comparison of data
  • identify and improve any bottlenecks and delays in access to diagnostic procedures and treatment.


For further information about the target, go to:

For the latest results on peformance against the target go to the Health Target Reporting section of the Ministry of Health website