Two community diagnostic centres are to be created in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire by next April and will provide a range of different tests for patients during a single visit.
The centres will offer services such as endoscopy, MRI and CT scans, ultrasounds, blood and lung tests, which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions, such as cancer and joint problems.
As well as reducing the number of appointments required by patients, the centres will free hospitals so they can focus on more complex cases and urgent and emergency care.
InHealth has been appointed as preferred bidder for the project, following a procurement exercise. The company already runs a network of 11 community diagnostic centres and a fleet of mobile units that serve four million patients a year.
The NHS and Inhealth are now working towards an integrated workforce model with staff from both organisations working together to make the best use of their combined expertise.
Dr Joanne Medhurst, chief medical officer at NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ICB, said: ‘We look forward to working with both North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust to get the services in place and operational for 1 April 2024.’
Mobile units are currently running at Southmead and Cossham hospitals and Weston-super-Mare’s Locality Health Centre to provide additional endoscopy and imaging capacity for patients until the fixed centres open.
Paula Clarke, executive managing director (Weston) at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said local access to diagnostic scans and tests would be ‘key to supporting improvements in health outcomes and helping reduce health inequalities’.
She added: ‘The ongoing work at our mobile centre alongside GP colleagues is already demonstrating how community tests can bring benefits for local people.’
One community diagnostic centre will be at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol while the other will be based in Weston-super-Mare, with the exact location to be confirmed.