Table 1

Recommended maximum time intervals and reported median delays in specialist consultation and treatment (in days)

AuthorGP referral to specialist consultationConsultation to surgeryWaiting list for surgeryDiagnosis to treatmentDecision-to-treat to treatment other than surgeryGP referral to initial treatmentComment
    BTS guideline1756287–28¶
    NHS Cancer Plan2143162
    RAND Corporation342
    Dransfield et al26104†Lung mass clinic
    Riedel et al3121†Multidisciplinary clinic
23†§Conventional referrals
    Bardell et al3439†Surgical patients
    Johnston et al3642 (IQR 28–77)14 (IQR 7–28)Radiotherapy patients
    Simunovic et al35Year 1993: 25†Surgical patients
Year 2000: 34†
    Liberman et al2168†23†52†Surgical patients
UK and Ireland
    Bozcuk et al1011†48†
    Campbell et al5234†
    Comber et al197 (IQR 3–17)54 (IQR 28–100)
    Devbhandari et al451 (0–5)60 (IQR 44–85)
    Dische et al5335 (IQR 21–63)7 (IQR 7–21)Radiotherapy patients
    Kesson et al5463†
    Lee et al5017 (0–92)Surgical patients
    Leo et al4422†16† (chemotherapy)
27† (radiotherapy)
    Lewis et al297 (0–124)‡37 (2–228)‡
9 (0–98)42 (0–239)
    Melling et al417†28†
    Neal et al2010 (IQR 6–13)
    Spurgeon et al5512 (IQR 7–22)47 (IQR 28–77)
Urgent: 7 (IQR 3–13)Urgent: 39 (IQR 21–61)
European Union*
    Aragoneses et al1135 (1–154)Surgical patients
    Christensen et al5660†Surgical patients
    Koyi et al3931†
    Salomaa et al68†15†
Other countries
    Annakaya et al1712.5 (10–25)
    Ozlu et al3835 (2–123)17.5 (0–206)
Range of medians(1–12)(31–104)(17–60)(12.5–52)(7–27)(34–60)
  • Values in parentheses are ranges unless otherwise noted.

  • *Excluding UK and Ireland. †Range or IQR not reported. ‡Before and after intervention. §Not a statistically significant difference. ¶Seven working days for chemotherapy, 14 days for palliative radiotherapy and 28 days for radical radiotherapy.

  • BTS, British Thoracic Society; GP, general practitioner; IQR, interquartile range; NHS, National Health Service.