The Government is to launch 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres across England in an effort to bring medical testing closer to patients, reduce pressure on hospital departments and to tackle the large care backlog triggered by the pandemic. Millions of patients are to benefit from the decision to open the sites, says the Government. There will be around 2.8 million scans able to be completed in the first full year of the sites operating.
The Centres will be located in accessible, local sites in order for patients not to travel far from home to be screened. These locations range from local shopping centres to football stadiums and dedicated retail outlets. The establishing of the centres will allow for a range of benefits for the NHS in reduction of hospital pressures and more focus on bringing point-of-care testing to the patient.
Regarding sustainability and the environment, the NHS stands to benefit from moving towards its Net Zero targets as patients reduce the number of journeys by visiting the clinic for multiple diagnostic services. Carbon emissions and air pollution will be cut as people travel to less clinical sites, and, in some cases, shorter distances to reach them.
The centres are to be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff, including nurses and radiographers. They will be open 7 days a week and GPs will have the ability to refer their patient to the local Diagnostic Community Centre, rather than hospitals.
“Rapid diagnosis will save lives and these one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests in the heart of local communities will not only make services more accessible and convenient for patients but they will also help us to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions”, said Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive.