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Media Monitoring: 5 – 11 August

By August 11, 2023No Comments

The Monthly Diagnostics data for May 2023 can be found her:

  • The total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key diagnostic tests at the end of June 2023 was 403,100. This was 25.2% of the total number of patients waiting at the end of the month.
  • Nationally, the operational standard of less than 1% of patients waiting six weeks or more was not met this month.
  • Compared with June 2022 the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 26,900 while the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 2.3 percentage points.
  • In the last 12 months, the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more at the end of a month has varied between 25.0% (March 2023) and 31.3% (December 2022).
  • The estimated average time that a patient had been waiting for a diagnostic test was 3.0 weeks at the end of June 2023.
  • There were 1,602,000 patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at the end of June 2023. This is an increase of 37,200 from June 2022.


AI improving cancer diagnoses as new digital strategy launches

  • NHS Wales is using AI to improve cancer diagnoses as the Welsh Government announces the launch of its new digital and data strategy for health and social care.
  • The IBEX Galen AI platform is being tested at six health boards to ascertain if it can help detect instances of breast cancer, following successful initial pilots analysing prostate biopsies.
  • It works by evaluating digital images of pathology samples before labelling which cases are more likely to be cancer, utilising a traffic light system so clinicians can prioritise those most at risk.


Government boosts use of independent sector capacity to cut NHS waits

  • Thirteen new community diagnostic centres (CDCs) – including 8 independently run CDCs – are being launched across the country as part of government plans to use the independent sector to cut NHS waiting lists.
  • The government has also set out a range of new measures to unlock spare capacity within the independent healthcare sector.
  • Also, measures include a commitment to using data on independent sector providers to identify where they have capacity to take on more NHS patients to help clear the backlog and increasing the use of the independent sector in training junior NHS staff.


Breast cancer diagnostic tool could save NHS £287m

  • A Government study has shown the Digistain can save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds.
  • Currently most breast cancer biopsies are sent to the US for analysis. Therefore removing these transportation costs, and preventing patients from having costly chemotherapy, will have dramatic effects on NHS funds.
  • Digistain has been inducted into the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme – mandated to help innovations spread throughout the NHS quickly.


New AI guidance launches in bid to improve clinical and ethical trust in innovations

  • The British Standards Institution (BSI) has now launched new guidance to help build digital trust in AI-based innovations within the health sector – particularly from an ethical and safety perspective.
  • The global framework is specifically targeted at products whose primary function is to enable or provide either treatment, diagnosis or condition management.
  • With budgetary constraints rife in the NHS, BSI highlight how the auditable standard can be used by health leaders to decide which AI tools to use.


Lessons learned from the pandemic

  • IBMS Chief Executive David Wells was NHS England’s Head of Pathology when COVID struck. He explains what lessons he learned and how they can help the profession. We then hear from a range of IBMS members and scientists on their biggest lessons and takeaways from the pandemic.


UK close to rejoining EU’s Horizon research programme (paywall)

  • The Times reports that the UK’s reassociation to Horizon Europe is imminent following Rishi Sunak’s decision to park his decision.


‘You don’t become a science superpower without taking care of the basics’ (paywall)

  • Comment piece by The Financial Times.






Ben Kemp