Magazine article Public Finance

Waiting Times Cut but 18 Weeks Still a Long Way Off

Magazine article Public Finance

Waiting Times Cut but 18 Weeks Still a Long Way Off

Article excerpt

The NHS has cut waiting times for diagnostic tests but it still has much to do if it is to reduce total waits for treatment to 18 weeks.

Ridding the health service of bottlenecks for tests, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, is crucial to the government s pledge that patients should wait no more than 18 weeks from referral by their GP to treatment by the end of 2008.

The NHS has expanded surgical capacity in public and private sector units but attention is increasingly focused on 'hidden' delays - patients are not put on a surgical waiting list while tests are conducted.

This week health minister Andy Burnham published waiting times for 15 of the most common tests, including MRI and endoscopies. The average wait for these tests was 15 weeks. …

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