NHS waiting lists in Bedfordshire for basic diagnostic tests – including MRI and CT scans – more than doubled between December 2020 and July 2023, up to 19,382. The research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, also shows that over 35% of people waited more than 6 weeks for one of these tests in July (the NHS target is less than 1%).
The 15 types of tests that make up the list provided by the Commons Library include MRIs, CT scans, Echocardiography, and DEXA scans. For MRIs, the waiting list in Bedfordshire from 2020 to 2023 almost quadrupled to 4,433 in July 2023. For CT scans, it more than doubled from 3,552 in December 2020 to 7,979 in July. The proportion of people waiting over six weeks for a diagnostic test is well above the NHS target of less than 1%. In July, it sat at 35.5% – a spike of 15% since December 2020.
Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats are calling for an expansion of community diagnostic centres to bring services closer to where people live and ensure they can be seen far quicker. The party is also calling for the right for everyone to see their GP in seven days by increasing the number of appointments and the number of GPs by 8,000. The Lib Dems have also called for investment in new hospital equipment to ensure that patients get the first-class treatment that they deserve.
Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats’ Spokesperson for Health, Councillor Dean Crofts said “What this Conservative government has done to the NHS is nothing short of a national scandal. Thousands of patients in Bedfordshire are being forced to wait in pain and discomfort, anxiously wondering when they will get a diagnosis, let alone treatment.
“Ministers are missing in action in this NHS crisis, and it is patients in Bedford Borough who are suffering. We need urgent action to get on top of this mess, end these appalling delays and ensure our community gets the local health services that we deserve.”