Report identifies patient testing concerns and improvements

Report identifies patient testing concerns and improvements
20 February 2024
A new survey by The Patients Association shows respondents want investment to improve test and diagnosis waiting times.

The results of the Patient Experience of Diagnostics Report, published by The Patients Association in partnership with Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, demonstrate that patients across the UK want greater speed and urgency in access to testing but face barriers to access.  

Key findings
  • 93% of respondents want testing capacity investment so that test results and diagnosis is quicker.
  • 91% want investment in diagnostics and new technology to be prioritised.
  • 60% were willing to pay privately if they faced long waits on the NHS.
  • 77% would be happy to test themselves at home.  
  • 82% want more discussion of testing options when being referred. 
  • 88% want a realistic timeline for receiving results.
  • 36% reported a decline in their physical health while waiting for tests. 
  • 34% said waiting for tests affected their mental health.

More than 1,000 patients from across the UK, who had received diagnostic support from the NHS in the last six months, took part in the survey. It found that patients want to feel more empowered in taking charge of their own health, they are also keen that solutions are sought to support NHS efficiency and sustainability in the longer-term.

The survey’s results show many patients have a clear view on how diagnostic services in the UK could be improved.
Being able to test at home was seen as one way to make services more accessible, as 61% of respondents believe expanding opportunities to test at home could help speed up diagnosis. When asked about specific examples, 77% said they would be happy to test themselves at home.

Investing in diagnostics and new technology was supported by most respondents, and many felt that the use of new technology such as artificial intelligence could speed up diagnosis and reduce pressures on the NHS.

“Patients value diagnostic services – that’s very clear from the survey. Frustrations about access to tests came over loud and clear. Those taking the survey clearly value being partners in their care. And to partner with the professionals sending them for tests, patients need and want clear communication on how to get tests, why they need a test, and when they’ll get results.

Healthcare professionals can improve patient-centred care when ordering diagnostic tests by explaining how, why and when.”
Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patient Association
“Tests that detect or diagnose disease early, or in some cases prevent it altogether, can play a vital role in the patient journey, and in helping the health system work efficiently.

This report shows that patients themselves see and understand the importance of diagnostic tests, and that they will proactively seek them out to find the answers they need about their health. The message is clear. But to realise this we need a renewed policy focus, setting out how we can speed up getting existing diagnostic tests and innovations to the people who need them.

Prioritising diagnostic services can help to relieve some of the pressure on our NHS today and protect it for generations to come.”
Geoff Twist, Managing Director, Roche Diagnostics, UK & Ireland
"Patients want better access to their tests, quicker diagnosis and greater clarity on the results.

Home testing is a way that could support them to monitor their health and could lead to early diagnosis and treatment, reducing the burden on healthcare systems. However, it should not be viewed as a substitute for professional laboratory testing that requires proper quality assurance, regulation, education and oversight.

For it to be safe, our workforce has the experience, skills and know-how that must be central to any adoption of home testing.”
David Wells, IBMS Chief Executive
Further Reading

Patient Experience of Diagnostics Report (external download)

The Adoption of Home Testing – The Biomedical Scientist February 2024 Editorial

Back to news listing