Millions of patients will 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.
The new centres are being rolled out in a host of accessible settings, including:
- the Glass Works in Barnsley – the new centre will be part of the town centre redevelopment with access to 670 parking spaces and will deliver ultrasound, X-ray, breast screening, phlebotomy and bone density scans
- Falmer Community Stadium, home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club – this will be one of 4 centres across the region serving a population of 1.7 million. The centres will provide additional MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray services
- a Community Diagnostic Village in a repurposed retail outlet in Poole – it will bring together primary, community and secondary care as well as local health support teams to serve the population of Dorset, particularly those in areas of known deprivation
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said:
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said:
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the first NHS national cancer director who recommended the changes, said:
The centres will begin providing services over the next 6 months, with some already up and running, and will be fully operational by March 2022.
The centres are one of the recommendations from Professor Sir Mike Richards, the first NHS national cancer director, who conducted a review of diagnostic services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published last year.
The government recently announced an extra £5.4 billion to the NHS to respond to COVID-19 over the next 6 months, taking total extra COVID-19 funding to health and care services to over £34 billion this year alone. It builds on the new Health and Social Care Levy, which will see funding rise by a record £36 billion over the next 3 years.
This is on top of a further £36 billion for health and social care across the UK thanks to the Health and Care Levy, which will include £8 billion ring-fenced to tackle backlogs and help the NHS deliver an extra 9 million checks, scans and operations for patients across the country from 2022 onwards.
Table: 40 community diagnostic centres launching across England
|Location||Community diagnostic centre||Region|
|Clacton||Clacton and District Hospital||East of England|
|New QEII Hospital (Hertfordshire and West Essex)||New QEII Hospital Welwyn Garden City||East of England|
|Leicester||Leicester General Hospital||East Midlands|
|Joined Up Derbyshire||Florence Nightingale Community Hospital|
Ilkeston Community Hospital
|Finchley Memorial Hospital||Finchley Memorial Hospital||London|
|Queen Mary’s Hospital (South West London)||Queen Mary’s Hospital||London|
|Mile End Hospital||Mile End Hospital||London|
|Barking Community Hospital||Barking Community Hospital||London|
|Tees Valley||Lawson Street Health Centre||North East|
|Blaydon||Blaydon Urgent Treatment Centre, Gateshead||North East|
|Central ICP (Cumbria and North East)||South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS FT||North East|
|North Tyneside||North Tyneside General Hospital||North East|
|Penrith||Penrith Hospital||North West|
|Cheshire and Merseyside and Lancashire South Cumbria (CD&M and LSC)||Lancashire Teaching Hospital Countess of Chester Hospital Liverpool Women’s Hospital||North West|
|Manchester and Trafford||Withington Hospital||North West|
|Northern Care Alliance – Oldham||Royal Oldham Hospital||North West|
|Bolton||Bolton NHS FT||North West|
|Buckinghamshire Oxford and Berkshire West (BOB)||West Berkshire Community Hospital Amersham Hospital Oxford Business Park Gemini One.||South East|
|Frimley||Frimley Park Hospital||South East|
|St Mary’s Community Hospital (Portsmouth)||St Mary’s Portsmouth||South East|
|HIOW Southampton and SW Hampshire||Royal South Hants Hospital|
Lymington New Forest Hospital
|Surrey Heartlands||Milford Community Hospital|
Woking Community Hospital
|CDH Poole Dorset Health Village||Beales Poole||South West|
|Buckland Community Hospital||Buckland Hospital||South East|
|Sussex Health||Falmer Community Stadium|
|CIOS Bodmin (Cornwall/Isles of Scilly)||Bodmin||South West|
|Devon Exeter Nightingale||NHS Nightingale Exeter||South West|
|BSW BaNES Locality (Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire)||Sulis Hospital||South West|
|Gloucestershire Quayside||Commercial Offices||South West|
|Kidderminster Treatment Centre (Herefordshire/Worcestershire)||Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre||West Midlands|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||Warwickshire North|
|Washwood Heath (Birmingham and Solihull)||Washwood Heath Urgent Care Centre||West Midlands|
|Telford||Princess Royal Hospital Telford||West Midlands|
|Corbett||Corbett Hospital||West Midlands|
|Kings Mill||King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield||East Midlands|
|Montagu Hospital (South Yorkshire)||Montagu Hospital, Mexborough||Yorkshire and Humber|
|Barnsley Glassworks||Barnsley Glassworks Shopping Centre||Yorkshire and Humber|
|Grantham||Grantham and District Hospital||East Midlands|
|Humber Coast and Vale||Hull University Hospital||Yorkshire and Humber|