Twenty times more people than before the pandemic in England were waiting over six weeks for key scans that can diagnose heart disease, our analysis has found.
Most recent figures show that at the end of September, 64,962 people in England waited more than six weeks for heart ultrasounds (known as echocardiograms), compared to 3,238 people who waited this long at the end of February 2020.
This is the highest number since figures were first published in this form, with 44 per cent of the total waiting list for an echocardiogram (149,050) waiting six weeks or more.
Echocardiograms, or echos, are tests which look at the structure of the heart and are used when someone has had a heart attack, or if they have heart failure. They are often used to routinely diagnose congenital heart disease and heart valve problems.