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Lengthy Waits For Cancer Scan Results Revealed

Large Number Of Patients Face Lengthy Waits For Cancer Scan Results


A significant number of patients who have had scans to see whether or not they have cancer have been forced to wait for more than a month before getting their results, it has been revealed.

The Guardian reports that the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) carried out a survey of 50 X-ray departments at NHS hospitals in England in October 2014, in which it found that 81,137 scan results had not been analysed for 30 days or more, potentially leading to patients' conditions worsening during this time.

In addition, 1,607 CT and MRI scan results had not been looked at in detail, despite the common expectation being that all such data should be analysed within one week to ensure individuals are receiving the correct advice or treatment as soon as possible.

The RCR highlighted that this means around 300,000 people could currently be waiting for a month or more for X-ray results, with 6,000 facing lengthy waits for scan results, if these findings are typical of the whole of the NHS.

Furthermore, the college explained some of the potential consequences relating to the late diagnosis of cancer, which include the condition worsening, already stretched NHS resources being wasted and patients possible experiencing other health problems, such as severe anxiety.

Dr Giles Maskell, president of the RCR, said the UK is also falling behind other European countries in terms of how many trained radiologists it has per every million people. In Britain, this figure currently stands at 48, in comparison to Germany's 92, Spain's 112 and 130 in France.

Chief executive of Cancer Research UK Harpal Kumar commented: "Reporting delays of this magnitude are unacceptable for patients and urgent action must be taken.

"Timely diagnosis and prompt access to treatment for cancer and other diseases can make all the difference in improving survival.

"Patients need the assurance that suspected cancer is taken seriously and is prioritised by the NHS."

Expert Opinion
Patient care should always be viewed a top priority for the NHS and this means ensuring patients who undergo scans related to the diagnosis of cancer are provided with the details as soon as possible. The fact that some patients are forced to wait more than a month to receive their results is simply unacceptable, as the quick treatment of the disease can be the difference between life and death for patients.

“It is vital urgent action is taken to resolve the issues that are leading to delays in results being provided to patients undergoing scans to determine whether or not they are suffering from cancer. The NHS must take this report into account and reassure patients that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is being taken seriously and measures are being implemented to reduce the delays some people have experienced.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner

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