Long waiting times for key diagnostic tests could signal “a tidal wave” of health problems ahead for patients in Dumfries and Galloway, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

According to new data from Public Health Scotland, in September 2020, there were 2,040 people on the waiting list for key diagnostic tests with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, with 577 (28 per cent) waiting more than four weeks and 366 (18 per cent) waiting more than six.

This is compared to 400 (18 per cent) waiting more than four weeks in the same period in 2019 and just 119 (five per cent) waiting more than six.

A standard waiting time of six weeks was set by the Scottish Government in 2009 for diagnostic tests such as CT and MRI scans to aid early detection of conditions like cancer or brain tumours.

Colin Smyth said: “These extremely worrying waiting times prove our NHS urgently needs resources from the Scottish Government. Early diagnosis and treatment of disease is vital, as are measures to prevent illness.

“SNP Ministers have been warned for months to bring in routine testing for all healthcare workers and put measures in place to maintain Covid safe spaces in our hospitals.

“Scotland is facing a tidal wave of health problems and the Scottish Government must urgently start giving our NHS the support it needs in order to prevent unnecessary deaths and chronic illness.”

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