Tuesday 4 December 2018 / 9:56 AM Health / Jonathan Ashworth

Waiting lists for diagnostic testing rocket since 2010

Labour is today (Tuesday) vowing to improve children and young people’s experiences of cancer as new analysis has found that the number of people on the waiting list for key diagnostic testing has increased by 75% since 2010.

Speaking at the Britain Against Cancer conference in London today, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP will commit Labour to fully supporting children, young people and their families impacted by a diagnosis of cancer throughout diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

In particular, Jonathan Ashworth MP will demand ministers follow Labour’s lead by:

Introducing a Young Person’s Cancer Fund to support young people and families with the cost of travelling to treatment.
Ensuring the Cancer Patient Experience Survey includes under 16s and young people for the first time ever.
Ensuring every hospital has free, high quality WIFI accessible in wards for all patients.
Providing every child or young person with a cancer diagnosis, and their parents/carers, with mental health and emotional wellbeing support throughout diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Investing in, and ensuring access to, hospital school provision so children and young people continue in education.

The commitment to children and young people comes as new analysis undertaken by the House of Commons Library for Labour has found that the number of people on the waiting list for key diagnostic testing has increased by 75% since 2010 [1], with the percentage of people waiting over 6 weeks to be tested increasing – a target consistently being breached [2].

70% of those waiting are waiting for either MRIs, CTs, or non-obstetric ultrasounds.

Labour will demand that both early diagnosis and the needs of children and young people with cancer are addressed in the NHS Long-term plan.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social care Secretary, will say:

“A key test of the NHS Long-term plan is whether it credibly delivers for cancer patients. The staggering increase in diagnostic waiting lists is a reminder that years of underfunding and understaffing has left patients increasingly anxious for test results and often forced to wait longer for vital treatment. It’s unacceptable and needs to change.

“The Long-term plan must deliver the resources and staffing to radically improve early diagnosis of cancer, but it must better support children and young people with a cancer diagnosis too.

“Every day 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. The emotional burden on children and their families that diagnosis brings must be heart-breaking. I’m determined that children and young people with cancer are given the very best possible care and support throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery.”