According to the latest data and statistics from the NHS, the waiting list for diagnostic tests in Woking reached 9,205 in July – up 39 per cent on 2019. 

The Liberal Democrats and I think these figures show the need for more diagnostic services to be based in Woking and for our community hospital to expand.

Last year, Woking Borough Council approved a motion from me to support the opening of a community diagnostic centre at Woking Community Hospital. As a result, the council has been working closely with the NHS to make that happen, funding has been allocated and a decision on planning permission will be made shortly.

Woking’s local hospital does currently provide some diagnostic services, but these are very limited. Woking has just one ultrasound and X-ray machines, and limited blood-taking services.

NHS waiting lists in Woking for basic diagnostic tests – including MRI and CT scans – grew by 39 per cent between June 2019 and July 2023, up to 9,205. The research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Lib Dems, also shows that over 9.1 per cent of people waited more than six weeks for one of these tests in July (the NHS target is less than one per cent).

The 15 types of tests that make up the list provided by the Commons Library include MRIs, CT scans, echocardiography, and DEXA scans. 

For MRIs, the waiting list in Woking spiked from 2019 to 2023 by 120 per cent up to 1,641 in July 2023. For CT scans, it shot up by 2,471 to 4,740 in July.

The proportion of people waiting over six weeks for a diagnostic test is well above the NHS target of less than one per cent. In July, in Woking it sat at 9.1 per cent.

What this Conservative government has done to the NHS is nothing short of a national scandal. Thousands of patients in Woking are forced to wait in pain and discomfort, anxiously wondering when they will get a diagnosis, let alone treatment.

Ministers are missing in action in this NHS crisis, and it’s patients in Woking who are suffering. We need urgent action to get on top of this mess, end these appalling delays and ensure our community gets the local health services we deserve.

However, there is hope – our community hospital is about to expand and Woking should soon get a diagnostic centre. This will bring services closer to where people live and ensure they can be seen far quicker.

The new centre would be a significant capital investment into Woking Community Hospital, thankfully not impacted by the borough council’s effective bankruptcy, and will operate as a joint service by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital, local GPs and Alliance Medical Ltd.

Currently, our nearest diagnostic centres are in Ashford, Chertsey and Guildford. It is unreasonable for local people to travel outside the borough for simple medical tests or a diagnosis – a local centre with the most modern diagnostic equipment will undoubtedly improve their quality of life, save travel costs and ultimately save lives.