Getting test results on time is crucial to provide quality care to patients. In a recent report, The Healthcare Commission has discovered that nearly 10% of scan results never reach the doctors table. The report assesses services in England for the year 2005/2006.
Worse still, the results reach Doctors via informal channels, or may even be overlooked; in some cases a tacit agreement between the department and the Doctor regarding an impending report, would have the Doctor conjecture the diagnosis.
Some doctors go a step further and make their own conclusions about the scans, leading to misinterpretation of serious conditions. The study also found that two-thirds of doctors have to wait indefinitely for the results of tests.
More than 50% of the Doctors interviewed were of the opinion that undue delays by the departments weighed on patient care, leading to a compromise on urgent decisions.
Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: 'The results of this review have been reported back to individual trusts so where there is a problem, they can address it.'