NHS waiting times turn people away from vital screening and treatment, research showsResearch shows delays in diagnosis and treatment are frustrating patients

2020-03-02
Community diagnostics image<br />

 

A Siemens Healthineers report shows delays in diagnosis and treatment are frustrating patients to the point that they are delaying seeking medical attention such as diagnostic screening

  • 60% of patients are frustrated at having to wait for medical appointments
  • 42% said having easier access to appointments would encourage them to get screened
  • 70% of patients would be eager to try a more local diagnostics facility in their community

According to a recent report by Siemens Healthineers, NHS patients are deeply frustrated by excessive waiting times to secure appointments, screenings and treatment as the UK health system continues to struggle.

 

Three in five stated their frustration at having to wait for a medical appointment, while 55% are regularly annoyed by long waiting times for diagnoses. A similar proportion (52%) feel frustrated at waiting for the actual medical treatment following screening.

These concerns are preventing many from getting the help they need, with over half stating they felt discouraged from being screened for an illness and 21% admitting they would be likely to miss screening due to the time taken to get an appointment.

Delays were further compounded by the considerable amount of time people were required to take off work for their health. Almost half of workers had to take time off last year to attend medical appointments, missing three days of work on average. In addition to this, three in ten have had to take time out to receive treatment in the last year, taking an average extra four days off.

While it’s important for workers to take time off work to maintain their personal health, better organisation and more resource could reduce unnecessary delays – minimising time needed away from work and subsequent productivity losses.

However, patients were also able to suggest how they would like to see the health service improved. The most popular suggestion, supported by 42% of patients, was easier access to appointments.

As well as seeking shorter screening and testing times, a quarter of respondents also supported having testing centres closer to their home or work. A significant minority of 19% said not needing to visit a hospital for treatment and diagnosis would be a benefit.

Community diagnostic centres could help to address the concerns of many patients. Sitting outside the hospital environment, these centres provide medical expertise and the facilities needed for screening and many treatments. Usually mobile or situated at the heart of local communities, they provide convenient access to patients while taking the pressure off local hospitals. Seven in ten patients said they would be willing to visit one for screening over their local hospital.

Peter Harrison, Managing Director at Siemens Healthineers GB&I, said: ‘Early diagnosis is crucial to stopping the spread of life-threatening illnesses and conditions, but many patients feel turned away by a system that is struggling with capacity challenges. A greater commitment to the rollout of community diagnostics could help agencies slash waiting times, transforming care delivery with a more patient-centered approach.’