The UK has relied on the NHS for the past 70 years. However, a growing population and multi billion pound cuts have led to lengthy delays in test results being issued to patients. In particular, patients who utilise the services of NHS Scotland have been hit the hardest. As of June 30th, more than 18,500 individuals had waited longer than six weeks to receive their test results. And, while the nation understands the pressure on the NHS, this is just one example of prolonged delays in recent months. As a result, the 11% of the population who have private healthcare cover are maximising their services and it may not be long until others follow suit.

Critical Test Results

In Scotland, just 78.7% of patients are currently seen within a six week window. Compared to two years ago, this figure is down by almost 4%. This six week window is used to ensure critical tests, including MRI scans, CT scans, colonoscopies and endoscopies are actioned as quickly as possible in order to provide patients with the best treatments available. Yet, the delay in test results being issued means that essential treatment is being pushed back.

Putting You At Risk

Meanwhile, in England, cervical screening test results are also experiencing delays. Cervical screening is a routine test which the NHS offers all women aged between 25 and 64 years of age. The NHS aims to present women with their screening test results within two weeks of their test taking place. However, women across the country are reportedly having to wait 12 weeks to receive these results. This is, of course, an agonising wait for many and should an issue be present in such a test, swift intervention is required. But, with cervical screening results currently taking six times longer than targets state, it’s no surprise that females are claiming the NHS is potentially putting their lives at risk.

Should You Be Concerned?

Staff shortages are increasingly being cited as the cause for these test delays. Research shows that in some parts of the UK, just one nursing vacancy is filled for every 400 advertised. With regards to cervical screening delays, Dr Michael Eden, the cervical cytology network clinical lead at Cambridge University Hospitals states that current staff shortages are the cause. Meanwhile, bosses at NHS Tayside, where patients typically wait two months for an appointment, say that it’s not possible to meet national targets due to a shortage of consultants and nurses. Cancer Research UK advise that the risk to national health is high. And, with an increasing number of aging individuals across the UK, a fast turnaround for appointments and test results is a must in ensuring optimum health.

An Alternative Option

With the NHS clearly battling to stay afloat and to provide the best care for the nation, it’s time for the UK population to take control of their own health. By taking out private healthcare you can be sure you’ll receive appointments, tests and scans when you need them and, most importantly, a fast turnaround on your test results. And, if required, you’ll be able to start treatment almost instantly and will have access to healthcare that suits you.

The NHS should be praised for all that it does for the community. However, that doesn’t counteract the fact that the nation’s health is potentially at risk due to vital test results being delayed as a result of staff shortages. Therefore, to ensure your health is protected, it’s wise to take out a private healthcare policy to utilise when you need it most.