This week, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid set out the Government’s plan to tackle the elective care backlog. Included in the plan were several points which will most definitely be of interest to those in the diagnostics sector.
In his speech in Parliament, Mr Javid began the section on diagnostics by heralding their importance, particularly during the pandemic. The plan itself set several ambitious diagnostic targets for the Government to meet in the coming years.
The Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) programme will be expanded, with at least 100 centres being established in communities across the country in the next three years, with the intention of creating a network of 160 CDCs overall. The Government hopes that having centres in convenient locations, such as high streets, will make testing more commonplace and undisruptive – they expect combining a shopping trip with a diagnostic test to be increasingly common in the future.
Testing capacity will also increase over the next three years and will provide over 9 million additional tests and checks by 2025. This represents an increase in capacity of a quarter compared with the three years prior to the pandemic.
The Government also recognised the drastic fall in patients receiving a diagnostic test when one was required. Before the pandemic, 96% of patients who needed a diagnostic test received one within six weeks, a figure which has worryingly dropped to 75% currently. Therefore, the Government has pledged to return this percentage to near pre-pandemic levels of 95% by March 2025.
As we have stated in our response to the plan, which can be read here, industry is well-equipped and primed to assist the Government in achieving their goals in the next few years and beyond.