THE county’s hospital trust has said it is trying to accelerate the return of as many non-Covid services as possible, after figures showed a 32 per cent drop in the number of scans being carried out by the county's hospitals.

The latest data released showed that between April and September this year, 139,895 scans were carried out in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust compared to 206,015 in the same period in 2019.That works out as 66,120 fewer scans, a drop of 32.09 per cent.

However, Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “As a Trust we have followed national and speciality guidance about what tests and other procedures should and should not be carried out in an NHS hospital setting during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In this context, we have made a huge effort to ensure that where possible patients in the most urgent need of treatment, including cancer patients, continue to receive the care they need, by transferring services to our other sites and through a partnership with our local private providers.

“For large numbers of patients this means they have had the tests and treatment they needed, when they needed them, in as safe a setting as possible.

“We recognise that this is an anxious time for patients who may be awaiting diagnostic tests.

“We are focussed on accelerating the return of as many non-Covid services as possible, whilst keeping our hospitals safe for our staff, patients and visitors.”

However, health campaigner Barbara Moss, herself diagnosed with cancer in 2006, has said more should be done to make sure tests for a range of health conditions go ahead.

Mrs Moss said: “More people will die from cancer than of Covid-19 as scanning saves lives by detecting diseases early for treatment to start. For example, cancer diagnosed at stage one has a 95 per cent survival rate, so catching it early is key.”

The data, published by the BBC Shared Data Unit, revealed that between April and September 2019, 103 NHS trusts in England carried out a total of 13.5 million scans of all types, including MRI, CT scans and ultrasounds used to diagnose cancer. But in the same time period in 2020, just 9.1 million scans were carried out. This marks a 4.4 million drop, or 33 per cent.