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GPs having to wait too long for radiology results

Two-thirds of doctors and nurses in England are waiting too long for results of imaging and radiological scans.

A Healthcare Commission report, published this week, found considerable variation between 196 acute and specialist NHS hospital trusts surveyed in reporting of results.

This was despite falls in waiting times for conducting scans in hospital radiology departments.A quarter of trusts took an average of six days to provide reports, and in the slowest 5 per cent the average delay was 12 or more days, which the report acknowledged 'could delay referrals for treatment'.

Almost 10 per cent of examination results were never formerly reported back to the referring doctor.The National Patient Safety Agency, which reported in February that a breakdown in the continuity of care in radiology units was leaving patients at risk of 'significant long-term harm', welcomed the report.

It said it 'confirms our safety recommendations urging NHS organisations to ensure "safety net" procedures following the commissioning of X-rays'.

The report concluded that PCTs needed to do more to meet the Department of Health's target of reducing the waiting time for imaging examinations to less than 13 weeks.

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