PERFORMANCE: Long diagnostic waits in Birmingham and Solihull have been blamed on the Heart of England Foundation Trust and a national bowel screening drive.

Primary care trust cluster board papers identified patients waiting more than six weeks for diagnostic tests as a problem in April. This was “due primarily to Heart of England’s failure to deliver its recovery plan at the end of March.”

The trust’s main problem was around diagnostic tests. Efforts to cut waiting times failed due to increased demand following a national bowel screening awareness campaign at the beginning of the year.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital also had a problem with diagnostic waits in quarter four, mainly around patients needing MRI scans. However this has since improved since the hospital installed an extra scanner in March.

This year’s NHS Operating Framework has a new target for no more than one per cent of a provider’s patients waiting more than six weeks for diagnostic tests.