The Government will meet its target to open 160 community diagnostic centres a year early, Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, has announced, explaining that all 160 will be open by next March, 12 months ahead of the original March 2025 target.
In a speech to the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, the Health Secretary confirmed the roll-out of the ‘one-stop shops’ following what he dubbed ‘the hard work of NHS staff and the Government’s efforts to maximise use of the independent sector – backed by the £2.3 billion in capital funding’.
Based in a variety of settings, including shopping centres, university campuses, and football stadiums, 127 of the community healthcare hubs are already open – including 40 brought forward earlier than planned. The Department of Health & Social Care says they offer patients ‘a wide range of diagnostic tests closer to home, and greater choice on where and how they are treated, reducing the need for hospital visits and helping them to receive potentially life-saving care sooner. It added: “The programme constitutes the largest central cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS, and has already delivered more than five million additional tests, checks, and scans across the country. The new centres will provide capacity for nine million more by 2025 as part of the NHS and government’s plan to recover services following the pandemic.”
Steve Barclay said: “Patients deserve the highest quality care, and community diagnostic centres have been instrumental in speeding up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease to ensure that patients are treated more quickly. I’m delighted that we will open 160 CDCs a year early, allowing greater access to hi-tech scans and diagnostics in communities across England.”
The Government has announced three of the final locations which will serve tens of thousands of patients, all set to open this December. They are:
- Queen Mary’s Sidcup CDC – the facility will offer CT, MRI, and ultrasound checks, along with blood tests, providing at least 58,000 additional checks once fully operational.
- Halifax CDC – based at Broad Street Plaza shopping centre in the Yorkshire town, this CDC will offer ultrasound checks, blood tests, and heart scans – delivering at least 90,000 tests once fully operational.
- Chichester University CDC, Bognor Regis – this facility will offer CT and MRI scans, along with ultrasound checks and blood tests to patients, and deliver at least 18,000 additional tests once fully operational.