23 September 2015
The British Institute of Radiology (BIR) response to the Government’s proposal for patients to have diagnostic test results within 28 days of referral
The BIR welcomes the proposal announced by the Secretary of State for Health for 95% of patients to have the results of diagnostic tests within 28 days of referral, by 2020.
However, this ambitious target can only be achieved by sustained capital investment in equipment replacement programmes and an adequate workforce of appropriately trained radiologists, radiographers, medical physicists, and support workers to perform, interpret and support investigations. Furthermore, it is vital that follow up treatments and therapy services are appropriately equipped to cope with this extra demand.
Dr David Wilson, President of the BIR said “It is vital that we keep the agonising waiting time for patients who have been referred for a diagnostic test to an absolute minimum. But this cannot be achieved without more staff, investment in updated equipment, education and training to optimise the advances in imaging equipment.”
“It is also crucial that when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, we are able to follow through with appropriate services and therapies. This was highlighted in a recent evaluation of imaging capacity across the NHS in England, by Cancer Research UK” .
Early diagnosis is a key element and one of the recommendations of the Independent Cancer Taskforce strategy to achieve world class cancer outcomes for England. Quicker diagnosis of cancer often leads to improved outcomes, and minimising the test result waiting time reduces patient anxiety.