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Heatmap of cancer services in England

What does the heatmap show?

The NHS has a standard of care that people with cancer should begin treatment within two months (62 days) of an urgent referral, and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) have a target to ensure this is met for at least 85% of people.1

Our heatmap is a visual representation of how far the 62-day referral to treatment standard target is being met within each ICB area in England.

NHS England publishes official statistics on cancer waiting times for each of the 42 ICBs responsible for planning, commissioning, and providing care in their Integrated Care System (ICS) area. We developed our heatmap using this dataset.2

Recognising the challenges being felt across the NHS as the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Pfizer is committed to partnering with the NHS, ICSs, and the wider cancer community to address these issues and help drive health equity.

We hope that our heatmap provides a useful illustration for where systems need to focus their attention to ensure the best possible outcomes for all cancer patients.

Download Heatmap

What does the heatmap tell us?

A key finding is that no ICB in England has met the 85% 62-day referral to treatment standard target for its population in the period of July 2022 to June 2023.  

There is also variation in how far the target is being met, with some areas having 77% of cancer patients receiving treatment within 62 days of referral, and others having as few as 48% of cancer patients being treated within this timeframe.

In response to the findings, Dr Ruhe Chowdhury, Medical Director Oncology, Pfizer UK said:

“It is vital that patients have access to cancer treatment at the earliest possible opportunity to improve their experiences and outcomes. Our heatmap demonstrates the scale of the issue facing NHS cancer services, which are struggling to provide timely access to treatments for patients.  Exploring why this variation exists and identifying solutions to shift the dial on barriers to access, will require a joined-up approach from ICSs, policy makers, patient organisations, and the life sciences industry. At Pfizer, we are committed to leading the way in improving cancer outcomes.”


  1. NHS England. Changes to cancer waiting times standards from 1 October 2023. Published August 2023.
  2. NHS England. Cancer Waiting Times: Commissioner Time Series by ICB and National Commissioning Hub – July 2022 to June 2023. Accessed October 2023.
PP-UNP-GBR-7130 / October 2023
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