A report commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society has revealed the shocking difference in treatment times between public and private patients.


With some striking statistics like public patients waiting up to 25 times longer for lifesaving tests for cancer than those who pay privately.


Some GP’s revealed in the report that some public patients wait up to 480 days for an ultrasound.


And there was so much more with public patients waiting an average of 119-125 days for an MRI of the spine, musculoskeletal system or brain while private patients benefit from a wait of six days or less.


We’ve broken down the results below.


AVERAGE TIME IN WORKING DAYS Private Public Difference
Chest x-ray 1.1 2.2 1.1
Abdominal ultrasound 5.4 80.5 75.1
Pelvic ultrasound 5.9 72.2 66.3
CT scan - brain 5.9 46.9 41
CT scan - chest 6.3 49.4 43.1
CT scan - abdomen 6.2 55.3 49.1
MRI - brain 5.7 125.9 120.2
MRI - spine 5.8 119.3 113.5
MRI musculoskeletal 5.6 120.5 114.9
Upper GI endoscopy/gastroscopy 9.9 59.6 49.7
Lower GI endoscopy/gastroscopy/ colonoscopy/ sigmoidoscopy 10.2 57.8 47.6


There was one area where public patients received the same access to diagnostics as private patients and that was for chest x-rays where all patients were seen in roughly two days.


The report was conducted by the Irish College of General Practitioners and they said of the findings that are “unacceptable”.


They spoke of the importance of quick access to tests and scans as “they are essential for diagnosis of other potential serious conditions. As such, the reported waiting times relate to all patients in the system.”


As a result of the difficulty, GP’s said they now feel forced to send patients to hospital emergency departments so they can receive the care they need which impacts on the overcrowding issues there.


“Delays in accessing diagnostics force many patients to pay for scans and tests privately to secure diagnosis. As a result, a patient’s ability to pay is linked to their ability to access diagnostics used to detect cancer in a timely manner.”


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