The King's Fund responds to DHSC announcement of 13 new community diagnostic centres

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Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care’s announcement of 13 new community diagnostic centres, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said:

‘The latest data shows that while more diagnostic tests were carried out in the past 12 months than the year before, demand for diagnostic tests remains high. There are now almost 1.6 million people waiting for a test or scan in England, and more than a quarter of these are waiting longer than 6 weeks to be seen. Delays in diagnosis are much more than just an inconvenience, they can leave people anxiously waiting in discomfort, with their health potentially deteriorating while they wait to receive care. Given these challenges, its good to see further action being taken to boost diagnostic capacity.

‘Government targets to bring down waiting lists look less and less achievable. Ongoing industrial action is having a big impact on the ability of the NHS to get through the backlog, and there has been confirmation that waiting time ambitions are now being reduced to reflect the impact of ongoing strikes. This underlines how staffing issues make or break almost any target set for the service.

‘The use of the independent sector can help bring down waiting times by boosting capacity, as seen in the 2000s and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the impact of these new diagnostic facilities will be limited unless other key issues in the health system are addressed, including the workforce crisis and a more comprehensive plan for ensuring England has the buildings and kit to meet the future health needs of the population.’

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.