§ Sandra Gidley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the waiting times were, broken down by regional health authority, for an MRI scan in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 792W
§ Yvette Cooper
[holding answer 10 April 2002]: We do not collect waiting times for an MRI scan. The Government acknowledges the importance of diagnostic procedures, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and is encouraging hospitals to streamline their services so that tests are carried out, and a diagnosis made, as quickly as possible. The length of time that a patient may have to wait for any scan is dependent on their clinical condition. Emergency cases need to be seen immediately. Other cases will be carried out as quickly as possible, however this is dependent on the clinical priority of all the remaining patients waiting to be scanned. To increase the capacity of diagnostic services, funding has been made available for the provision of new and replacement scanners. By 2004, approximately 100 MRI scanners and 200 CT scanners will be provided through central purchasing programmes. In addition to this, workforce initiatives are underway that aim to improve recruitment and retention of staff.