The Daily Telegraph

Private clinics take pain out of NHS waiting lists with walk-in scans


PRIVATE health clinics are offering walk-in MRI scans for £250 as the NHS waiting list surpasses seven million.

Living Room Health is among one of the first UK providers to offer on-thespot high street scans.

The company’s first two clinics, in Brighton and London, also offer immediate GP appointmen­ts and orthopaedi­c diagnostic and treatment services.

A further three clinics are earmarked for the capital with more expected to open nationwide over the next four years.

It comes as hundreds of thousands of patients are waiting longer than they should to start NHS treatment.

The number of patients waiting longer than six weeks for a key diagnostic test – the NHS target – has now reached its highest level since the first wave of the pandemic.

Figures show that in August 461,400 people were waiting longer than six weeks for one of 15 standard tests, including an MRI scan, ultrasound or gastroscop­y.

It comes as a survey found 57 per cent of doctors had reported seeing an increase in patients turning to private care. The majority, 91 per cent, also reported an increase in patients struggling to access medical care in the last five years.

A further 79 per cent of medics said they believe the state of healthcare will deteriorat­e in a post-pandemic world.

The Paddington Living Room clinic in central London has two MRI scanners while the Brighton outlet, which occupies a former stationery shop in the town centre, has one machine. Clients will receive a report on their scan within hours or days, while the firm said the NHS sometimes did not get back to patients for three months.

Simon Checkley, chief executive officer of Living Room Health, said: “Our presence will complement the life-saving work of the NHS, who we love, respect and admire, but will empower people to seek immediate treatments for a broad range of conditions that they may be struggling with.”

“We are accessible, affordable and we are coming to a high street near you,” he added.

It is understood that private providers will share medical records and results with a patient’s NHS GP.

If the patient then requires further treatment they would be placed in the NHS referral queue to see a consultant.

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