NHS performance data highlights ‘scandalous’ access to diagnostics

Following the release today of NHS performance data including A&E, referral to treatment and diagnostics, Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “These are worrying times for the NHS given the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 in addition to all of the other pre-existing issues such as bed capacity, staffing, funding and social care provision.

“Performance remains poor and concerning and, with what we know will be a challenging winter ahead, it will take more than a token cash injection announced by the Prime Minister this week to make up for years of neglect.

“A&E attendance remains much lower than last year yet even with the decreased numbers the four-hour target was not met, showing just how hard hit processes have been in this new era.

“With four million people waiting to start treatment and 52% waiting up to 18 weeks – far short of the 92% standard – there is significant concern this combination will lead to many more people requiring more urgent treatment down the line when conditions have deteriorated.

“We are particularly worried by the ongoing crisis in accessing diagnostic tests with the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key tests at 540,600 – 47.8% of the total number of patients waiting – which, given the target is 1%, is scandalous.”

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