Significant milestone reached as extra 2 million scans, tests and checks delivered to bust the Covid backlogs

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Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Community diagnostic centres (CDCs) have delivered more than two million vital tests, checks and scans for patients, with a further 10 centres now approved, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced today October 11.

These centres are busting the Covid backlogs by speeding up access to lifesaving tests.

The one-stop shops, backed by £2.3 billion in government funding, offer a range of services in the heart of communities, making tests more accessible for patients.

Based in community settings such as shopping centres and football stadiums the hubs house a range of cutting-edge equipment, including MRI, CT, X-ray and ultrasound scanners and offer services including blood tests or heart rhythm and blood pressure monitoring. They are designed to speed up diagnosis of conditions from cancer to heart or lung disease.

As set out in ‘Our Plan for Patients’ published in September, the government will prioritise rolling out up to 160 of these centres across England by 2025 to help bust the Covid backlogs and enable the health service to deliver up to nine million additional tests, checks and scans a year.

Later today, the Health and Social Care Secretary, Thérèse Coffey will officially open a new community diagnostic centre in a shopping centre in North London. It will be open for seven days a week and deliver an additional 40,000 tests by spring 2023.

Health and Social Care Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:

My number one priority is delivering for patients and we’re getting on with the job of tackling the issues that affect people most – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.

Today I’m announcing the approval of 10 new community diagnostic centres which are helping to bust the Covid backlogs by delivering vital tests, checks and scans in local areas.

They have delivered over two million checks over the past year, diagnosing conditions from cancer to lung disease – and we’re on track to open up to 160 centres across the country by 2025, delivering an additional 17 million checks.

NHS medical director for transformation, Vin Diwakar, said:

It is testament to the hard work of staff across the NHS that we have now delivered more than two millions tests and checks at our one stop shops and latest figures show we have the lowest number of patients waiting for tests and checks since we published our elective recovery plan in February.

We know that rapid diagnosis saves lives, and it is great news that more of these centres have been approved to provide checks and scans in the heart of local communities, making services more accessible and convenient while also helping to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions.

The ten approved new centres will be rolled out across the country, including in the Isle of Wight, Burnley and Medway in Kent. Once referred by a GP, pharmacist or hospital, patients can access CDCs in their local area and get any concerning symptoms checked out.

Thanks to these innovative approaches, significant progress has already been made on tackling waiting lists, with the NHS virtually eliminating waits of over two years for routine treatment as part of the first milestone in the Elective Recovery Plan.

The NHS says it plans to go further, including eliminating waits of over 18 months by April 2023, over 15 months by March 2024, and over a year by March 2025.

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