Six million vital checks carried out at local diagnostic centres

  • 2nd January 2024

NHS patients benefit from six million more checks at centres across England

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

More than six million tests, scans, and health checks have taken place at community diagnostic centres (CDCs) across the country, helping speed up diagnoses and treatments for NHS patients.

A total of 6.1 million checks were carried out at CDCs as of November 2023, since they were first introduced in July 2021.

Based in a variety of settings including shopping centres, university campuses, and football stadiums, 141 of the diagnostic centres, including four temporary sites, are already open, with 40 brought forward earlier than planned.

They offer patients a wide range of diagnostic tests closer to home and greater choice on where, and how, they are treated, reducing the need for hospital visits and helping them to receive potentially-life-saving care sooner.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, said: “The Government’s £2.3bn Community Diagnostic Centre programme is the largest investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS.

A vital role

“Placing high-tech equipment in places like shopping centres and near football stadiums makes it simpler for patients to get the care they need, as quickly as possible.

“We have now opened 141 community diagnostic centres across England, with more to come, and they are playing a vital role in faster diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease.”

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

The programme constitutes the largest central cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS and the Government says it is on track to meet its target to open 160 CDCs by March 2025, with many due to open ahead of schedule.

Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS medical director for transformation, said: “Thanks to the hard work of staff, latest data shows the NHS has delivered a record 25.9 million tests and checks over the past year – two million more than the previous 12 months, and almost 50% more than a decade ago – helping ensure patients get the all clear or a diagnosis so they can be treated for a range of conditions as quickly as possible.

Reducing waiting times

“Millions of these tests have been performed at one of our 141 ‘one stop shops’ open across the country, situated in locations most convenient for patients.”

As a result of the success of the CDC programme and the wider measures outlined in the Elective Recovery Plan, the Government met its target to virtually eliminate waits of over two years and has cut 18-month waits by over 90% from a peak in September 2021.

In November, the Government also provided £800m – a combination of reprioritised and new funding – to mitigate the impact of industrial action.

And it is maximising independent sector capacity to further reduce waiting times for NHS patients.

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