Four new community diagnostic centres have already opened across Lancashire and South Cumbria, working to boost the number of checks, scans, and tests which were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help work through the backlog, Lancashire and South Cumbria has received a share of £350 million funding from the government for the centres at Westmorland General Hospital, Rossendale Primary Health Care Centre, Preston Healthport and Whitegate Drive Health Centre in Blackpool, which act as ‘one-stop shops’ in convenient locations for people who have been waiting for these services.
Diana Rosof-Williams, Clinical Lead for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Diagnostic Imaging Network said: “The community diagnostic centres offer easier, faster, and more direct access to a range of tests including MRIs and CT scans once referred by their GP.
“By bringing services closer to patients’ homes, staff will be able to diagnose a range of conditions including cancer, heart and lung disease more quickly and ensure patients are treated faster.
“Our local teams have already made great progress providing diagnostic scans and tests back up to pre-pandemic levels, and this new investment will help us go even further – while also providing a more convenient option for patients.”
The centres are already helping to achieve:
- earlier diagnoses through easier, faster, and more direct access to the full range of diagnostics needed to understand symptoms
- a reduction in hospital visits which will help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19
- a contribution to the NHS’ ambitions to cut carbon emissions and air pollution by providing multiple tests at one visit – reducing the number of patient journeys.
Community diagnostic 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 in 2019.