The BBC has reported an increase in patients who are facing long waiting lists for tests such as scans and biopsies. A BBC investigation revealed that long waits experienced by patients are as a result of staff shortages in hospitals across the UK, particularly radiographers. According to The Society of Radiographers, “the shortages were causing significant delays in diagnosing illnesses”.
The BBC obtained the data under the Freedom of Information Act. The findings show that ‘one in 11 posts are unfilled’. It is worth noting that ‘124 NHS trusts and boards’ were approached by the BBC and only ‘four in five of those asked responded’.
The average wait for a referral for a test in England and Scotland is meant to be within six weeks. In the past year, 29,000 patients in England have waited longer than this target and ‘one in seven has waited more than three months.’ The number of patients waiting longer than this in Scotland has increased by ‘more than a third’ to 18,500.
Richard Evans, Head of the Society of Radiographers stated:
“If we are going to identify things like cancer early we need more diagnostics …. We are struggling to cope with demand and that creates delays for patients …. It is not just about staffing either. We have ageing machines that are not as efficient as they should be.”
Health Education England’s Cancer Workforce Plan revealed ‘plans to recruit an extra 300 diagnostic radiographers.’ A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care stated that ‘plans were already in place to increase the number of radiographers and invest in “state-of-the-art technology”.’
Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence law. If you believe that you or a family member have suffered a delay in diagnosis or been a victim of negligence, due to private or NHS treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 254 7456 to discuss your concerns.