Wales has worst waiting times record for life-saving tests

Wales has the worst UK waiting times record for life-saving tests, according to latest figures. Government statistics show that around 42% of people in Wales waiting for diagnostic tests had to wait more than six weeks before they were finally seen.

Wales' waiting times for diagnostic tests 'worst in UK'

by Alexandra Lodge

Doctors in Wales say waiting times for diagnostic tests here are amongst the worst in Europe and could be making the difference between life and death.

Official figures today show numbers are falling but Plaid Cymru claim Welsh patients are still waiting up to 20 times longer than those in the rest of the UK.

They say, on average, 41.2% of patients in Wales wait more than six weeks for such tests - ten times more than in Scotland and 20 times more than in England.

National

Wales waiting time statistics 'most disturbing in years'

NHS statistics which show that Wales has the worst waiting times for life-saving tests in the UK are "the most disturbing" health figures seen "in many years", a doctor said.

Carmarthen-based doctor Dewi Evans, who has been working in the health service since 1971, said early diagnostic tests were important because they could be a matter of life and death.

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

The checks - such as MRI scans and cystoscopies - can be used by medics to check whether a person has cancer.

These investigations are the mainstay of early and accurate diagnoses of life-threatening conditions.

In terms of significance, these are the most disturbing NHS statistics I have seen in many years. Diagnostic tests are one of the most important parts of the health service.

– Dr Dewi Evans

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National

Welsh Govt 'expect waiting times to come down'

The Welsh Government said they "expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down" after NHS statistics showed Wales was the worst-performing country in the UK in that area.

Despite the pressures on the NHS, access to diagnostic tests is improving.

However, the health minister Mark Drakeford acknowledges waits are still too long in some cases, and last month announced £5 million of new funding to help the NHS reduce waiting times for those scans and tests where there are particular challenges.

Speeding up access to these tests will mean that patients get the results faster and can start their full treatment sooner. We expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down.

– Welsh Government spokeswoman

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

National

Plaid Cymru: Stats show Labour's NHS mismanagement

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman, said the figures showing that Wales has high waiting list times for life-saving tests highlighted "the stark reality of Labour's mismanagement of the NHS".

The Health Minister needs to take emergency action to bring down these waiting lists and help the thousands of people who are in limbo as they await a diagnosis. We need to make sure that the diagnostic machines are staffed for longer so that they can be used to their capacity.

This will need extra funding, but failure to do so would be condemning patients to wait even longer for basic tests.

Plaid Cymru has long advocated better planning within the NHS so we can plan ahead for the future workforce, keep waiting lists down and make the Welsh NHS the efficient service that it can be.

– Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman and Ceredigion Assembly Member Elin Jones

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

National

Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

Wales has the worst waiting times record for life-saving tests in the UK, according to new figures.

Wales has the worst waiting times record for life-saving tests. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Around 42% of people in Wales waiting for diagnostic tests had to wait more than six weeks before they were finally seen, according to government statistics.

This compares with 1.8% in England and 3.8% in Scotland.

And the statistics also show 16.6% of patients on the Welsh diagnostic waiting list wait longer than 12 weeks.

In Northern Ireland, 15.5% on the list had to wait more than nine weeks.