Forty new community diagnostic centres to open
Millions of patients will benefit from earlier diagnostic tests closer to home thanks to 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres set to open across England in a range of settings from local shopping centres to football stadiums.
The new one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests will be backed by a £350 million investment from government to provide around 2.8 million scans in the first full year of operation. The centres will help achieve:
Earlier diagnoses for patients through easier, faster, and more direct access to the full range of diagnostic tests needed to understand patients’ symptoms including breathlessness, cancer, ophthalmology.
A reduction in hospital visits which will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
A reduction in waits by diverting patients away from hospitals, allowing them to treat urgent patients, whilst the Community Diagnostic Centres focus on tackling the backlog.
A contribution to the NHS’ net zero ambitions by providing multiple tests at one visit, reducing the number of patient journeys and helping to cut carbon emissions and air pollution.
GPs will be able to refer patients to a centre so they can access life-saving checks closer to home and be diagnosed for a range of conditions, rather than travelling to hospital. This will be more convenient for patients, more efficient and more resilient to the risk of cancelled tests in hospitals due to COVID-19. The centres will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff including nurses and radiographers and are open 7 days a week.
All cancer services are back to or above pre-pandemic levels with almost half a million people checked for cancer in June and July – among the highest numbers on record – while more than fifty thousand people started treatment for cancer in the same period, a 32% increase on the same period last year. The centres will continue to further level up access to vital cancer tests and other tests to tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
The new centres are being rolled out in a host of accessible settings, including:
The Glass Works in Barnsley. The new centre will be part of the town centre redevelopment with access to 670 parking spaces and will deliver ultrasound, X-ray, breast screening, phlebotomy and bone density scans.
Falmer Community Stadium, home of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. This will be one of four centres across the region serving a population of 1.7 million. The centres will provide additional MRI, CT, Ultrasound and X-ray services.
A Community Diagnostic Village in a repurposed retail outlet in Poole. It will bring together primary, community and secondary care as well as local health support teams to serve the population of Dorset, particularly those in areas of known deprivation.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: "Tackling waiting lists will require new and more innovative ways of delivering the services people need. That is why we’re making it easier and more convenient to get checked. Our new Community Diagnostic Centres will bring those crucial tests closer to home including in the communities that need them most. They will help enable earlier diagnosis, allowing us to catch cancer and other issues as quickly as possible, and save more lives."