NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) will open two dedicated endoscopy rooms from Spring 2023 as part of a newly-approved community diagnostic centre (CDC) at Burnley General Hospital.
The increase of one endoscopy room to three will provide 14,000 additional tests from spring 2023 to spring 2025, help spot and treat conditions such as reflux, ulcers and cancer more quickly and cut down waiting times for diagnosis and potentially-life saving treatment.
The Burnley CDC is a ‘spoke’ site to a main hub opened at Rossendale Primary Healthcare Centre last year. The Rossendale hub already offers a wider range of services including blood tests and from next year, heart and lung checks will also be offered as cardiology and respiratory diagnostics are added to the tests on offer.
Together, the Rossendale and Burnley General Hospital CDCs are set to offer more than 86,000 additional tests to patients in the area from October 2022 to March 2025. Patients will be referred to the Burnley centre by their GP.
Deborah Mitchell, the north west regional diagnostics lead for NHS England, said: ‘NHS staff across the region are working hard to bring down the waiting times for diagnostic tests, which have built up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Staff have led a number of different initiatives, such as the Lancashire and South Cumbria cardiac network team, which ran an ‘echo-thon’ earlier this year, with the aim of delivering an additional 800 echocardiographs over eight weekends.’
The Burnley CDC is one of around 160 others set to open across the UK by 2025 aimed at helping to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for tests while also relieving pressure on NHS staff ahead of a potentially challenging winter.
The ICB and East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) are receiving national funding to deliver the community diagnostic centres across the area.
Three further centres have already been opened across Lancashire and South Cumbria, in Preston, Kendal and Blackpool. The sites have been selected following analysis to determine where CDCs would be most beneficial in reducing waiting lists and tackling health inequalities while making the best use of existing NHS estates.
The development of community diagnostic centres (CDCs) was a key recommendation of the Richard’s review on NHS diagnostics services, proposing the need to revolutionise diagnostic services to cope with the huge increase in demand, improve services and patient outcomes and, more recently, to help tackle the backlogs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.