Patients value NHS diagnostic services but face access barriers, new report finds

London, 13th February 2024 – UK patients are calling for better access to early and accurate diagnosis of health problems, according to new survey data released by the Patients Association.

The survey, conducted in partnership with Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, gathered the opinions of more than 1,000 patients from across the UK who had received diagnostic support from the NHS in the past six months. The findings revealed that nine out of ten patients (90%) believe it should be easier to obtain access to the diagnostic tests they need.

In addition, three in five patients (60%) said they would be willing to pay for a test if they faced a long wait or if the test they needed was not available on the NHS. This highlights the importance that patients place on receiving timely and accurate diagnoses.

Furthermore, the survey showed that patients want to be more involved in their care and have a better understanding of the tests they are undergoing, why they are necessary, and when they can expect results. This includes better access to testing facilities closer to their homes and clearer explanations of test results and their implications for treatment.

The survey also highlighted the challenges that patients face in accessing diagnostic services. One-third of respondents (33%) reported that there were no available appointments for tests in their local area, while almost four in five patients (78%) felt that testing facilities should be provided closer to their homes.

In terms of solutions, the survey found that patients are willing to take an active role in their own healthcare. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of respondents believed that expanding opportunities for at-home testing could help speed up the diagnostic process. In addition, more than half (57%) of patients felt that the use of new technology, such as artificial intelligence, could help to reduce pressures on the NHS and speed up diagnoses.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patient Association, emphasized the importance of clear communication and patient empowerment in the diagnostic process. She stated, “To partner with the professionals sending them for tests, patients need and want clear communication on how to get tests, why they need a test, and when they’ll get results.”

Geoff Twist, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, echoed this sentiment, saying, “Tests that detect or diagnose disease early, or in some cases prevent it altogether, can play a vital role in the patient journey, and in helping the health system work efficiently.”

Both Power and Twist stressed the need for a renewed policy focus on improving access to diagnostic services in the UK, in order to relieve pressures on the NHS and support its long-term sustainability.

For more information, please contact:

Maya Anaokar, Head of Communications and Marketing, the Patients Association,

or Charlotte Newman, Lexington Communications, T: +44 (0) 7884 180837 or Rachel Clinton, External Communications Lead, Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, T: +44 (0) 7894 809445

Notes for editors

The survey methodology and additional details can be found in the appendices of the full report, available for download at the Patients Association website.

About the Patients Association

The Patients Association is an independent patient charity campaigning for improvements in health and social care for patients. As an independent charity, the Patients Association believes that improvements can only be achieved if the system works in partnership with patients. Through its helpline and information services, the organization provides support and advocacy for patients across the UK.

About Roche in the UK

Roche is a leading healthcare company that focuses on developing tests and treatments that improve the lives of patients and their families. In 2020, Roche diagnostic tests were used over 820 million times in the UK to confirm, rule out, or manage health conditions. The company works closely with the NHS to ensure rapid uptake and delivery of its products and services, and its business sites contribute £290 million GDP and 2,190 jobs to the UK economy. For more information, please visit

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