Patient access policy


From 1 January 2020, there is a revised patient access policy in place at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

The policy supports us to work with patients to be fully involved in their care, meet national standard waiting times, which are:

  • 18 weeks from referral to treatment for non-urgent patients
  • two weeks’ maximum for patients with suspected cancer
  • maximum six weeks’ wait for diagnostic testing.

The updated policy supports all our staff, including those in administrative roles, to uphold the policy, which may at times mean taking difficult (rather than unpleasant) decisions about discharging patients who have failed to attend or repeatedly cancelled appointments.

The main changes

There are several changes in the policy but the most significant is that patients who are classified as ‘routine’ who do not attend a first appointment or cancel it twice can now be discharged without clinical review if we can be sure that they know about their appointment. Where a clinician decides that the patient should be offered a further appointment, they will document their reason.

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