NHS Waiting Lists Growing
Press Association -- There has been a jump in the number of patients waiting more than six weeks for key tests over the past year.
At the end of May, 15,900 people were waiting more than six weeks for one of 15 key tests, including MRI, CT and heart scans, ultrasound and colonoscopies.
This is an increase of 12,400 from May 2010 and a monthly jump of 1,800 on April's figures.
Of those waiting more than six weeks, 1,806 were waiting more than 13 weeks.
The South East Coast strategic health authority had the most people (4,240) waiting more than six weeks, about four times the number in some other regions. Of all the NHS patients waiting at the end of May 2011 (584,422), 97.3% had been waiting less than six weeks, compared to 99.3% in May 2010. The data relates to England.
Last month, figures showed the number of hospital trusts breaching a key waiting time limit has more than doubled in a year.
Data for April showed 51 trusts - around a third of the total - were not hitting the limit for treating patients within 18 weeks of referral by their GP. This compared with 25 trusts a year ago.
However, many hospitals are doing better than expected, meaning the NHS is still meeting its pledge of treating 90% of patients within 18 weeks.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised not to lose control of waiting times after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley scrapped the 18 week target set by Labour.
Hospitals have been told they are still expected to see most patients within 18 weeks. The latest figures relate to tests rather than treatment.