Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
Why am I being referred on a 2 Week Wait – Rapid Diagnostic Service Pathway?
A 2-week wait referral means that you will be offered an appointment with a hospital specialist team as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after you have been referred by your GP.
You have been handed this leaflet by your GP, as your GP feels that you have symptoms that require further tests by a hospital specialist team, using the Rapid Diagnostic Service (RDS) pathway.
These symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Persistent fatigue or loss of appetite.
This is so that your problem can be investigated and treated quickly and effectively, if needed.
The aim of the RDS is to quickly investigate patients with nonspecific symptoms, so that potential cancers can be picked up at an earlier stage.
You will be contacted by the RDS team and given information about the types of investigations that you will need. They will also advise about when you should expect a call from these services.
What will happen before my appointment?
Before your appointment, your GP will already have completed a chest x-ray, stool test and blood tests for any obvious abnormality. Even if some of these tests show that there are no abnormalities, you may still be referred. This is because you will need to see a specialist or have some further tests to work out what is causing your symptoms.
If the results of your tests are normal, you may be referred back to your GP for ongoing management of your symptoms.
You will be asked COVID-19 screening questions prior to your appointment and may be offered testing prior to being seen in clinic.
Does this mean I have cancer?
It is important to remember that even though you are being referred urgently, this does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. For the majority of patients, the results will NOT show signs of cancer or a serious condition.
However, it is important that we identify any conditions and find the best way to manage your care.
The following are examples of tests you may be offered as part of the RDS:
This is a procedure where the inside of your body is examined using an instrument called an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, thin flexible tube that has a light source and a camera at one end.
We can look at your gullet, stomach and upper part of your small bowel (this called an OGD or gastroscopy), or the large bowel (this is called a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy and is only used if we are just looking at the last part of the large bowel).
Images of the inside of your body are shown on a television screen.
A CT scan is an X-ray test that takes detailed images of the inside of your body. It is performed while you lie on a table. The table passes through the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut shaped machine, you will pass through this hole while you lay on the table.
What will happen at my hospital appointment?
Any results from tests carried out by the RDS will be discussed with you and explained in detail by either telephone, letter or a face-to-face hospital appointment.
The specialist team often give people a lot of information during their hospital appointment. Because of this, many people find it useful to bring a family member or friend with them.
This may not always be possible due to COVID-19 and social distancing measures.
You may find it useful to write down any questions you want to ask during your appointment.
How do I get to hospital?
If you cannot use public transport, drive or arrange your own transport, you may be able to use the ambulance service. Contact your GP for patient transport information.
Volunteer driver service
We run a volunteer driver service to help patients access our hospital services in a more convenient way.
We know that some people have difficulty getting to our hospital sites and we understand that once you have been to your appointment you want to get back home as quickly as possible.
We offer a flexible service to suit your needs. If you need help getting to and from your hospital appointment, then we are here to help. You simply need to call the number below to book one of our volunteer drivers.
If you want to book a driver please contact our service desk on 01429 522550.
Your GP believes that your symptoms need to be investigated urgently, so it is important that you are flexible when arranging this appointment and make every effort to attend.
If you are unable to attend the date of your clinic appointment or investigations, you must inform the Rapid Diagnostic Service Cancer Care Coordinator as soon as possible. This is to make sure that future hospital appointments can be appropriately arranged.
We will do our best to make sure that you are seen as soon as possible on an alternative date and time.
Rapid Diagnostic Service
Telephone: 01642 624165
Opening hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm (Monday to Friday)
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1365
Date for review: 8 February 2025