NHS “one-stop shops” have delivered over one million tests and checks since its rollout, as the health sector continues with the biggest catch-up programme in health history.
More than 90 community diagnostic centres have already freed hospitals by offering MRI, CT and other services.
The NHS has committed to deploying a network of up to 160 centres across the country, which will mean around nine million additional checks can be performed each year by 2025.
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of the NHS said: “It is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that more than one million diagnostic tests and checks have been delivered through one stop shops in the heart of peoples’ communities since the rollout began.
“Not only are they convenient but these centres will be vital in catching more health conditions at an earlier stage and will help people get the treatment and care they need and quickly. The most important thing is that people come forward when they have health concerns.
“Our message is loud and clear – people must not worry about coming forward for care and being a burden on the NHS, it is vital that people get checked as soon as they can – the earlier we see you, the sooner we can treat you”.
The NHS will also roll out the next phase of their awareness campaign, which looks to fight the fear of cancer with television adverts and social media posts focussing on easing people’s worries rather than highlighting symptoms.
The campaign returned staggeringly successful results back in March, with a 17-fold increase on people visiting the NHS for support observed. The campaign will restart from tonight encouraging people to get checked earlier to maximise their chances of a positive health outcome.
Polling that was conducted in conjunction with the campaign revealed that approximately a third of patients would delay visiting a GP because of they were scared of wasting NHS time or for a fear of bad news.
The poll also showed nearly two-thirds said that dying was their biggest cancer worry but over a fifth would delay a visit to the GP in the hope that the symptoms would disappear first.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Tackling the Covid-19 backlog requires innovative ways of working, which is why we have rolled out over 90 community diagnostic centres across the country giving patients access to lifesaving checks, tests and scans closer to home. Since the first one opened in July 2021, they have now delivered one million checks.
“Community diagnostics centres will play a crucial role in our 10-Year Cancer Plan which will focus on speeding up diagnosis – along with innovative treatments and building a world-class workforce.
“It’s also fantastic to see the NHS launch the next phase of their campaign to combat the fear of cancer – I urge anyone with concerns to get checked out – it could save your life”.
More information about the new campaign is available here.