Six-week cancer testing target won’t be met until 2025 as NHS burdened with Covid backlog

Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted there was “no quick fix” to the backlog as Boris Johnson shifted focus from Partygate to the NHS


Patients in urgent need of cancer and other tests will now have to wait until March 2025 before the six-week targets are met.

Boris Johnson has now set this as the date by which the NHS Covid backlog can be cleared and the deadline will be met 95% of the time.

A maximum of six weeks waiting time for diagnostic tests was introduced by Labor in 2008 with the promise that no more than 1 in 100 patients would have to wait longer.

But when the pandemic peaked in 2020, 58% of patients didn’t receive vital scans within six weeks.

The PM has opened 90 community diagnostic centers since last year and plans to open 70 more to speed up the process.

Mr Johnson said: “The pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on our NHS but we are making excellent progress towards our goal of tackling the Covid backlog.”

And Health Secretary Sajid Javid added: “There is no quick fix but between community diagnostic centres, new cancer screenings and the expansion of mental health coverage, we are supporting the NHS in tackling the Covid backlog.”

Mr. Javid will provide more information this week about the Innovative Medicines Fund to support patients with rare and genetic diseases.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) signaled that ministers will make a series of announcements in the coming week on the progress the £12billion-a-year catch-up scheme is making.

The Government is also expected to release a report on the health and care leadership of General Sir Gordon Messenger, a former Deputy Chief of Defense Staff, aimed at ensuring the cash injection is spent efficiently.

However, with some Westminster observers predicting he could face a confidence vote from Tory MPs as early as this week, the Prime Minister could struggle to change the news agenda.

A steady stream of Conservatives have come forward to urge Mr Johnson to resign since Sue Gray’s report on lockdown violations at No 10 and Whitehall was released late last month.

Under party rules, he will face a vote of confidence in a secret ballot if 54 Tory MPs table a letter to the 1922 Backbench Committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, demanding one.

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