NHS cancer tests and scans will be offered at football stadiums and shopping centres to help tackle the backlog caused by coronavirus
- Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 40 new testing centres to open across England
- GPs will be able to refer patients directly to these centres for a range of diseases
- Include Brighton’s Falmer Community Stadium and The Glass Works in Barnsley
Millions of patients will be sent for cancer checks at shopping centres or football stadiums instead of hospitals, the Government has announced.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 40 new ‘one stop shop’ diagnostic centres for scans, tests and X-rays will open in community locations across England.
The Government has invested £350million in the centres to provide around 2.8million life-saving scans and tests over the next year to tackle the enormous NHS backlog.
GPs will be able to refer patients directly to these centres for a range of diseases.
The new centres includes Falmer Community Stadium in Brighton and shopping centre The Glass Works in Barnsley.
The Government has invested £350million in the centres to provide around 2.8million life-saving scans and tests over the next year to tackle the enormous NHS backlog (file photo)
Between March 2020 and February 2021, 369,000 fewer people than expected were referred to a specialist for diagnostic cancer tests.
Cancer services are now back to pre-pandemic levels, but charities stressed greater capacity is needed to get through the enormous backlog.
Mr Javid said: ‘Tackling waiting lists will require new and more innovative ways of delivering the services people need.’
The centres will begin providing services over the next six months and will be fully operational by March.
Mr Javid added: ‘The pandemic brought into sharper focus the need to overhaul the way we deliver diagnostic services and so I am absolutely delighted to see one of the key recommendations of my report becoming a reality for patients so quickly.
‘I have no doubt that many people will benefit from these new NHS Community Diagnostic Centres, bringing together many tests in one convenient place.’
It is hoped the new centres will help doctors make earlier diagnoses for patients through more direct access to a full range of diagnostic tests and reduce hospital visits (file photo)
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: ‘NHS staff have continued to provide routine care, throughout the pandemic, alongside treating around 450,000 seriously ill Covid patients in hospital, and the roll-out of these community diagnostic centres will help us to spot problems sooner, when they are easier to treat.’
The 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 last year.
It is hoped they will help doctors make earlier diagnoses for patients through more direct access to a full range of diagnostic tests, reduce hospital visits and therefore the risk of Covid transmission, cut down waiting times, and help meet emissions targets by providing multiple tests at one visit and reducing the number of journeys patients have to make.