To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average MRI scan waiting times were in England in each of the last 10 years by (a) hospital and (b) region. 
Data are not collected centrally on waiting times for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The length of time that a patient may have to wait for a scan is dependent on their clinical condition. Emergency cases need to be seen immediately. Other cases will be carried out as quickly as possible, dependent on the clinical priority of all patients waiting to be scanned.Where a MRI scan forms part of the diagnostic process for a patient urgently referred with suspected cancer, this will be covered by the target of a maximum two months wait from urgent referral to first treatment, which will be in place for all cancers by the end of 2005.To increase the capacity of diagnostic services, funding has been made available for the provision of new and replacement scanners. The New Opportunities Fund has provided funding for 57 MRI scanners and the NHS Cancer Plan has provided funding for a further 50 MRI and 50 computed tomography scanners through central purchasing programmes by 2004.