In England, nearly 17,000 patients were made to wait longer
than the recommended time limit for undergoing vital diagnostic tests for
cancer and other diseases, the latest figures show.
figures also show an extra 250,000 patients are waiting for planned surgery or
treatment compared to last year.
long delay puts the patients' best chances of survival at risk.
charities have demanded swift action to address this issue of long wait time to
undergo vital diagnostic tests.
blamed staff shortage and lack of enough MRI and CT machines for the delay.
NHS constitution recommends no more than six weeks' time for a diagnostic
test to take place from the time of referral by their general practitioner (GP).
the ratio of people not being able to get their tests done on time has doubled
from 1.1% last year to 2.2%, which includes potentially some with cancer.
shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said "Patients are waiting longer for
crucial tests - causing stress and real anguish for worried families.
weeks ago, the NHS missed the cancer treatment target for the first time ever
and these delays have clearly played a part in that.
the progress made on cancer care in the last decade is now at risk."
proportion is also the highest in six years indicating the poor or no progress
made in recent years to tackle the problem.
Devane, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said "Each individual hospital has a
responsibility to meet these targets, or they risk putting a patient's best
chance of survival at risk.
this government and the next also need to take responsibility. Macmillan Cancer
Support is urging all political parties to make cancer a top priority at the
upcoming general election."
Department of Health has shelled out an extra £250million to hospitals and
GP-led organizations to bring down the waiting times.
to the department, the increase was, in part, due to the ageing population, which
indicates more patients are being referred by GPs.