Tens of thousands of patients across the country are set to benefit from six new community diagnostic centres (CDCs) opening this year – with the ‘one-stop shops’ due to deliver more than 500,000 additional tests, checks and scans a year.
Cutting waiting lists is one of the government’s key priorities and the six new CDCs will offer patients a wider range of diagnostic tests closer to home, reducing the need for hospital visits and getting them the care they need sooner.
Regions including the East of England, Midlands and the South East will benefit with all new centres open to patients before the end of the year – with the government investing £2.3 billion to deliver up to 160 across England by 2025.
The new centres include:
North Lincolnshire CDC – situated in a car park in Scunthorpe town centre, the facility will offer more than 146,000 additional checks a year. This will include ultrasound checks, blood tests and CT and MRI scans.
Pitsea CDC – opening in the next few months it will provide up to 46,000 tests, checks and scans a year. Located in a retail park, it will boost the number of endoscopy rooms in the regions for cancer patients and offer potentially life-saving CT and MRI scans
Ilkeston Community Hospital (Walton) CDC – providing more than 100,000 tests, checks and scans per year It will be based at Walton NHS Community Hospital and give patients access to ultrasound checks, X-rays and cardiology and respiratory diagnostics.
North Solihull CDC – Set to open in Winter 2023, the new CDC will be based on a commercial retail site in Chelmsley Wood, North Solihull. It will offer access to MRI, CT and X-ray scans, along with cardiology and respiratory diagnostics – delivering 116,000 tests, checks and scans a year.
Hereford City CDC – opening in winter, the new CDC will be based on an NHS community hospital site in the city. It will offer MRI, CT and X-ray scans, alongside ultrasound and respiratory checks, alongside blood tests – delivering 38,000 tests, checks and scans a year.
Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CDC – the facility, a refurbishment of Livingstone Community Hospital in Dartford, will offer access to ultrasound checks, blood tests, along with CT and MRI scans. Opening in Autumn 2023, it will deliver over 96,000 tests, checks and scans.
Following a referral from a GP or consultant, patients will be able to get their symptoms checked much closer to home and receive a diagnosis for a range of conditions such as cancer, heart or lung disease, rather than travelling to hospital. This is not only more convenient for patients, it is also more efficient for staff and will free up clinician time to help further cut the waiting lists.
So far, 106 community diagnostic centres are open across England, including three temporary sites, in a variety of settings including shopping centres and university campuses, and the CDC programme has delivered over 3.8 million additional tests, checks and scans since July 2021. 32 other facilities are due to open before the end of the year.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I have pledged to cut waiting lists and these new Community Diagnostic Centres will do exactly that. By offering checks, tests and scans closer to home, we can speed up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease and ensure patients get their treatment quickly.
“These centres revolutionise the way the NHS delivers care and crucially, they are saving lives.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
“We know early diagnosis and treatment leads to better outcomes for patients, which is why these centres are so vital.
“Based in the heart of communities, they are making it easier for people to access life-saving checks and cutting out unnecessary hospital visits.
“They have already made a huge difference, delivering nearly four million tests, checks and scans since the programme started in July 2021, helping to deliver on the government’s commitment to cut waiting lists.”
Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS Medical Director for Transformation, said:
“The NHS delivered a record 2.3 million diagnostic tests in March, up more than 128,000 on the previous monthly record, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff.
“These new CDCs will continue to increase access to care by providing vital scans, X-rays, endoscopies and blood tests closer to patients’ homes, building on the progress we have already made to drive down the longest waits and diagnose cancer earlier.”
As a result of this, and wider measures, the government successfully met the first target in its Elective Recovery Plan to virtually eliminate waits of over two years and has cut 18 month waits by over 91% from the peak in September 2021.
Further action to cut waiting lists and offer patients quicker access to healthcare include the government’s publication of its Primary Care Recovery Plan which will get rid of the 8am rush for GP appointments, enable patients to get prescriptions and medication directly from a pharmacy without a GP appointment, free up around 15 million GP appointments over the next two years and improve patient access to their own medical records through the NHS App.