Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Health News

More waiting for key NHS tests

The number of people waiting more than six weeks for key NHS tests has almost quadrupled in one year, figures showed today.

In June, there were 12,521 people waiting more than six weeks for one of 15 key tests, including MRI, CT and heart scans, ultrasound, barium enemas and colonoscopies.

This is up on the 3,510 waiting more than six weeks in June 2010.

There has also been a nine-fold increase in the number of people waiting more than 13 weeks for one of the tests.

In June, there were 1,763 people waiting more than 13 weeks, up from just 190 in June 2010.

Last week, some foundation trusts warned they would struggle to meet commitments on treating people within set time limits, and said the four-hour target for people to be seen within A&E was under threat.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has relaxed some NHS targets on waiting times but he and Prime Minister David Cameron have pledged to keep waiting times low.

The data published today by the Department of Health also shows 595,500 people in total across England waiting for diagnostic tests in June - the highest number this year.

It is up on the 584,422 in May, the 556,864 in April, 575,662 in March, 549,326 in February and 527,390 in January.

Overall, the number of tests carried out between April 2010 and March 2011 has risen 2.8% on the previous year, from 37.7 million to 38.8 million.