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Volume 2007, Article ID 23870, 3 pages
Clinical Study

The Effectiveness of “Two-Week” Referrals for Suspected Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma

North of England Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Service, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK

Received 6 May 2007; Accepted 14 November 2007

Academic Editor: Michael Leahy

Copyright © 2007 A. Malik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The two-week “wait” target introduced in 2000 requires that patients with suspected cancer referred by general practitioners should be seen within two weeks. We reviewed patients who had been referred under this standard to the North of England Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Service, to determine if the referral guidelines had been followed, and what proportion of patients referred under the guideline had malignant tumours. 40 patients were referred under the guideline between January 2004 and December 2005. Ten of these patients (2548%) had malignant tumours, compared with 243 of 507 (48%) of those referred from other sources. In 9 of the 40 cases, the patient did not meet the criteria for urgent referral. Although this target has focussed attention on shortening the time to diagnosis and treatment, prioritising patients referred from general practitioners has the potential to disadvantage those with malignant tumours referred from other sources.