Diagnostic tests need improvement to avoid delayed diagnosis
Although the NHS has improved access to diagnostic procedures like tests, CT scans and MRI scans, the health minister Caroline Flint has said further improvements will help deliver ambitious new waiting time targets.
Improving diagnostics continues to be a key priority for the Government, having invested an extra £200 million since 1997. To avoid delayed diagnosis this has been invested in scanning equipment and an extra 1,600 radiographers. The independent sector will also provide more than 1.5 million additional diagnostic procedures per year for NHS patients over the next five years.
Fear of wrongful diagnosis
To help identify where further improvements are needed, the NHS is for the first time publishing monthly waiting times for diagnostic procedures across every Trust; a move seen as vital in delivering the new 18 week maximum wait from GP to treatment by the end of 2008.
It is now reported that the average out-patient wait is four weeks, while the average in-patient wait is around seven weeks. This positive move forward must be built upon to give patients even more certainty about their treatment and remove the fear of misdiagnosis or wrongful diagnosis.
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