The Government have announced that they will open seven brand new community diagnostic centres, in the latest attempt to streamline patient diagnoses and arrest the Covid-19 backlog that is still affecting so much of the NHS estate.
Community diagnostic centres are ‘one-stop shops’ that have been purpose-built in a variety of different settings, ranging from football stadiums to shopping centres, that offer potentially life-saving diagnoses for a range of conditions like cancer and lung or heart disease.
More than 90 diagnostic centres have already opened up in the UK with another 60 set to launch by 2025. The makeshift clinics have already delivered more than 1.7 million of the targeted nine million tests, checks and scans.
Thanks to the £2.3bn of investment ringfenced for community diagnostic centres, patients can continue to benefit from quicker and more convenient treatment processes, whilst general hospital staff can benefit from a more manageable workload as capacity becomes less and less stretched.
The new centres will be launched in:
- St Albans
- Willesden and Wembley
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Since taking on the role of Health and Social Care Secretary, I have been focused on clearing the Covid backlog and waiting times. Community diagnostic centres are a vital part of our plan to transform the way we deliver tests, scans and x-rays and ultimately reduce waiting times for patients.
“Along with speeding up diagnosis times, they will also help tackle health disparities – ensuring that people get treated as quickly as possible no matter where they live, with new centres opening from Essex to Manchester.”
The Government worked closely with the NHS to determine which areas would benefit the most from a community diagnostic centre, and which would contribute the most to driving down backlog and tackling health inequalities.
Of the 1.7 million tests delivered so far:
- 173,000 were in the East of England
- 222,000 were in London
- 303,000 were in the Midlands
- 173,000 were in North East Yorkshire
- 260,000 were in the North West
- 329,000 were in the South East
- 245,000 in the South West
NHS national director of elective recovery, Sir James Mackey, said: “These 7 ‘one-stop shops’ are the next step in our elective recovery plan and a welcome addition to the 92 existing community diagnostic centres, which have already delivered more than 1.7 million tests and checks in just over a year.
“Our elective recovery plan set out how the NHS will deliver 9 million more tests and checks a year by 2025 and the work of these diagnostic centres, some in convenient spots including shopping centres, are excellent examples of the innovative work being done across the health service to ensure patients get the tests and checks they need as quickly as possible.”