Community diagnostic centres deliver more than seven million checks

  • 19th March 2024

Patients benefit from tests and scans at 155 centres now open in England, with AI scanners on the way to further bolster diagnostic offer


NHS patients have benefited from more than seven million tests, checks, and scans at community diagnostic centres (CDCs) across the country, helping speed up diagnoses and treatment.

CDCs, in settings like shopping centres and university campuses, play a vital role in helping to identify and treat illnesses in quicker time and closer to home, further helping reduce pressure on hospitals and allowing for a speedier diagnosis so patients receive potentially life-saving care sooner.

The milestone comes as figures show diagnostic activity in every month in 2023 was the highest for that month on record, with the Government pledging to deliver 17 million tests across CDCs and through its other investments in diagnostic capacity by March 2025.

Last week, Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced further investment in the sector, promising 100 new AI-fitted MRI scanners that will help doctors deliver results more quickly and accurately to 130,000 patients every year.

The programme marks the largest cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS

These will be funded through the landmark £4.2bn Public Sector Productivity Plan, under which the NHS will be given £3.4bn to double its investment in digital transformation, including IT upgrades and AI investment.

Health Minister, Andrew Stephenson, said: “Diagnostic centres are playing a vital role in helping to cut waiting lists by delivering checks and scans to people who need them, helping reduce pressures faced by hospitals across the country.

“This is a key part of our long-term plan to make the NHS faster, simpler and fairer for patients.

“Placing these centres in easy-to-reach locations, such as shopping centres and near football stadiums, means that people can get the support they need more quickly.”

There are now 155 CDCs open across the country, which play a crucial role in faster diagnosis for illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

The seven million CDC tests, checks and scans have been delivered by the CDC programme since its inception in July 2021, which is backed by £2.3bn, constituting the largest cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS.

So far, 155 centres have opened in England, with the Government on track to meet its target to open 160 by March 2025.

Patients can be referred to CDCs via their GP or acute consultant, and healthcare staff use CT scanners, MRI scanners, and other new diagnostic equipment to diagnose a range of health conditions.

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