Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”Community diagnostic centres are cutting waiting lists”

Will Quince, Health Minister, Twitter

Facts

The health minister Will Quince tweeted that Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) “are cutting waiting lists”.

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. Mr Quince did not make it clear that he was comparing waiting lists with how they might look had CDCs not been introduced—not with how they looked in the past.

Both the main diagnostic waiting list and the overall elective treatment waiting list, as published by NHS England, have grown since CDCs were launched. 

Verdict

The lack of relevant context means that Mr Quince’s statement could be interpreted as potentially misleading.

Waiting lists are the highest they have ever been and appear on course to continue to rise.

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 Mr Quince’s statement is misleading.” to “The lack of relevant context means that Mr Quince’s 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. 

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