Millions of patients are said to be set 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 to 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, while the community diagnostic centres focus on tackling the backlog
- a contribution to the NHS’s 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 50,000 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.
In the SW, this will be:
CIOS Bodmin, and Devon Exeter NHS Nightingale Hospital.