Diagnostic Waiting Times - alarming data for September 2022

Thursday 10 November 2022

Responding to September 2022's Diagnostic Waiting Times data for England, Dr Katharine Halliday, President of The Royal College of Radiologists, said:

“Today’s Diagnostic Waiting Times data is alarming. We know the longer patients wait for a diagnosis or treatment, the less their chance of survival.  

“Our members are clinical radiologists and clinical oncologists, and much of their work involves diagnosing and treating cancer. Today’s figures show the NHS in England would have to employ 441 radiology consultants, the equivalent of a 16% increase in the current diagnostic workforce, in order to clear the 6 week wait for CT and MRI scans in one month.

“The number of patients waiting 6 weeks or more for a CT or MRI scan has shot up from 3% of the waiting list in September 2019 to 21% of the waiting list in September this year. This is more than a tenfold increase in patients waiting. Behind the statistics are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters, facing an unbearable wait.

“The radiology and oncology workforce numbers reflect years of lack of investment. These two specialties are life saving and cost saving - early diagnosis leads to less invasive treatment and better outcomes for patients, which is a win-win. But without a fully funded workforce plan, patients will wait longer and suffer worse outcomes, whilst also adding significant costs to the NHS because of more complex treatment plans.

“We’re urging the Government commit to a fully-funded long-term workforce plan for clinical radiology and clinical oncology. This is the only way to ensure patient pathways and diagnosis to treatment times aren’t placed at risk.”