The Government’s plans to establish a minimum of 100 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) across the country face major difficulties as medical leaders have warned that they lack the 6,000 staff necessary to run them. Health Minister Edward Argar has previously confirmed that CDCs will require an extra 3,500 radiographers, 2,000 radiologists and 500 senior nurses in order to operate.
This news comes at a time when the NHS already faces a crippling workforce crisis, and many senior figures are concerned that this new demand will lead to vital hospital staff being poached by CDCs, thus exacerbating the problem.
Richard Evans, the chief executive of the Society and College of Radiographers echoes this view, “There is a real concern that CDCs will be staffed with radiographers and other staff that are only available because they have left jobs elsewhere in the NHS”.
Evans also emphasises the need to train more homegrown doctors or recruit from abroad urgently to alleviate any potential issues. This view is shared by Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting who stated, “The super massive black hole in the government’s NHS recovery plan was the lack of a workforce strategy. NHS staff have gone above and beyond in the past two years, but there aren’t enough of them. Patients will continue waiting longer for care until the staff shortages are fixed”.
CDCs remain a keystone in the Government’s strategy to return the NHS to pre-pandemic levels of productivity and tackle the enormous NHS backlog, as 6.1 million people remain waiting for their care.