How long will I have to wait to see a consultant?

It depends on why you need to see a specialist.

But you may not always see a consultant. You may see a less senior doctor in the hospital's consultant-led team instead.

Non-emergency referrals

For non-emergency treatment, you have the right to start consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks from when your GP, dentist or another healthcare professional referred you.

Cancer referrals

When cancer is suspected, you have the right to be seen by a specialist within 2 weeks of your GP referring you.

Most people referred like this do not have cancer, but it's important to see a specialist as soon as possible so a cancer diagnosis can be confirmed or excluded.

For more information, including how waiting times are calculated, when the maximum waiting times do not apply, and what to do if you have waited longer than 18 weeks, see the guide to NHS waiting times.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 18/04/2019
Next review due: 18/04/2022