In a press release on 9 June, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) stated that Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) are “cutting waiting lists and giving patients quicker access to care.”
CDCs are a new type of NHS facility that provide a range of different tests, checks and scans. They were introduced in England in July 2021, and are intended to increase the country’s diagnostic capacity and reduce the pressure on hospitals.
As Full Fact pointed out, It is potentially misleading to say that CDCs are “cutting waiting lists”, because the meaning of the phrase is ambiguous. The DHSC did not make it clear that it was comparing waiting lists with how they might look had CDCs not been introduced—not with how they looked in the past.
When we sent this commentary to the Department for Health and Social Care a spokesperson replied:
“It is a fact that waiting lists would be longer without community diagnostic centres, which have already delivered over four million additional checks and scans across the country since July 2021.”
In the light of this helpful reply we amended (and weakened) our verdict from “The lack of relevant context means that the DHSC statement is misleading.” to “The lack of relevant context means that the DHSC statement could be interpreted as potentially misleading.” We always read with care and attention answers from those who we accuse of making false or misleading statements.