Early diagnosis of serious medical conditions such as cancer is essential to improving patient health outcomes. Delays in reporting of tests can mean delays in patients receiving appropriate courses of treatment.

To help address this, the Patients Association has produced a joint report with the Royal Colleges of Radiologists. The report interviewed 624 patients and looked into their experience of undergoing scans and X-rays and how and when the results were given to them.   

Our aims: 

  • Investigate how long patients are waiting for the results from X-rays and scans such as CT and MRI
  • Ask for patients’ views on government proposals for patients to receive their results directly.


  • 85% of patients surveyed received their results within 4 weeks of their scan. 15% said they had waited more than one month to hear their results
  • 41% patients had their X-ray or scan explained by a hospital doctor or their GP (29%), but 23% said they didn’t receive any explanation at all
  • 48% patients surveyed though that a radiologist was responsible for interpreting their X-ray or scan. 35% thought it was it was their hospital consultant and 16% thought it was their GP
  • Over 80% of patients surveyed thought it was a good idea to receive their results directly. If there were to come directly, 63% of patients wanted to receive their results in person and 25% by email or website login.

These findings reflect the current lack of capacity in the UK radiology services to deliver scan results for all patients within 28 days. If direct access to diagnostic test results for patients were introduced, radiology reporting services would be stretched even further. They also reveal the lack of understanding among patients of the role radiologists play in their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Download the full report into scans here

For more information please contact Heather Eardley, Head of Projects and Partnerships on [email protected]  or 07872 633 189.