The implications of constructing a temporary ileostomy as part of the primary surgery for some rectal cancers must not be underestimated and many patients are particularly keen to have their stoma closed as early as possible. Currently, there are no set protocols in place which determine when this should take place, meaning that stoma reversal can be extremely variable between hospitals in the UK. We have created a policy to give patients a provisional date for ileostomy closure at discharge from primary surgery, which takes into account any necessary adjuvant treatment. We compared time to closure of ileostomy between two adjacent centres that share common stoma-care and oncology teams to see what benefit this policy provides. Patients were recruited over a 2-year period from 2005 to 2007 from two adjacent centres. Centre 1 had a policy to provide patients with a provisional date for closure of their ileostomy. The notes were studied retrospectively to determine time to closure of the ileostomy and reasons for any delays in closure. A total of 107 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of which 83 patients (72%) had their stomas closed. Thirty patients had their stomas closed within 12 weeks (37%) - more than 67% (23/34) in centre 1 against 15% (7/48) in centre 2. At 1 year, all patients in centre 1 had their ileostomy closed, while 10% (5/48) were still waiting in centre 2. The mean time to closure was 13.47 and 25.25 weeks for centres 1 and 2 respectively -P-value < 0.0001. Offering patients a date for ileostomy closure at discharge from their primary resection results in the majority of stomas being closed within 12 weeks. For those patients who are to undergo adjuvant chemotherapy, we aim to perform this surgery in between the second and third cycles of treatment.