A new report has revealed that patients place great importance on NHS diagnostic services, yet are met with obstacles when attempting to utilize them.

New Survey Reveals UK Patients Want Better Access to Diagnostic Tests

A recent survey conducted by the Patients Association, in partnership with Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, has revealed that UK patients are in need of better access to early and accurate diagnosis of health problems.

The survey, which represents the views of over 1,000 patients from across the UK, found that nine out of ten patients believe it should be easier to get the diagnostic tests they need. Furthermore, three in five patients said they would be willing to pay for a test if they faced a long wait or if the test they needed was not available on the NHS.

The survey also highlighted that patients want to know more about the testing process, including how to access tests, why they are being recommended, and when they can expect results. This includes a better understanding of the purpose and urgency of tests, as well as increased access to testing facilities closer to their homes.

Access challenges were also identified, with one-third of respondents reporting that they were unable to schedule an appointment for a test in their local area. This reflects national data on the large numbers of patients who are unable to access diagnostic tests and services.

The survey also revealed that patients are finding ways to overcome these challenges, with 60% of respondents indicating that they would be willing to pay for tests privately. This highlights the importance placed on timely and accurate diagnosis by patients, even if it means paying for it themselves.

The survey also showed that patients are willing to embrace new technology and methods of testing, with 61% of respondents believing that expanding opportunities for at-home testing could help speed up diagnosis. Additionally, over half (57%) of the respondents felt that the use of new technology, such as artificial intelligence, could also improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, emphasized the need for clear communication between patients and healthcare professionals regarding diagnostic tests. She stated, “To partner with the professionals sending them for tests, patients need and want clear communication on how to get tests, why they need a test, and when they’ll get results.”

Geoff Twist, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, also commented on the survey’s findings, saying, “The message is clear. But to realize this, we need a renewed policy focus, setting out how we can speed up getting existing diagnostic tests and innovations to the people who need them.”

The Patients Association is an independent charity campaigning for improvements in health and social care for patients. They believe that improvements can only be achieved through partnership with patients, and their helpline and information services provide support and resources to thousands of people each year.

Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland work to develop tests and treatments that change lives and give people more time with their loved ones. In 2020, more than 820 million Roche diagnostic tests were used to confirm, rule out, or manage health conditions in the UK, and their business sites contribute £290m GDP and 2,190 jobs to the UK economy.

The full survey results can be found on the Patients Association website.

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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