The Government is set to meet its target to open 160 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) a year earlier than planned, it has announced.
Initially intended to open by March 2025, all 160 CDCs will be operational by March 2024, the health and social care secretary Steve Barclay announced today (31 October) in a speech delivered to the Independent Healthcare Providers Network.
Currently, 127 CDCs are up and running, with three of the final locations announced in December in London, Sussex and Yorkshire.
CDCs have currently delivered more than five million additional tests, checks and scans across England. The new centres will provide capacity for a further nine million by 2025, the DHSC said.
The three new CDCs set to open in December will be based in:
- Queen Mary’s Sidcup CDC in South East London, offering 58,000 additional checks once fully operational
- Halifax CDC in Yorkshire, delivering at least 90,000 tests once fully operational
- And Chichester University CDC in Bognor Regis, providing at least 18,000 additional tests once fully operational.
The CDC programme marks the largest financial investment in MRI and CT scanning in the NHS’ history and is backed by £2.3 billion in capital funding.
In total, 13 CDCs will be led by the independent, with a further 22 located on the NHS estate with the independent sector providing diagnostic services.
Mr Barclay said: ‘Patients deserve the highest quality care, and community diagnostic centres have been instrumental in speeding up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease to ensure patients are treated more quickly.
‘I’m delighted we will open 160 CDCs a year early, allowing greater access to high tech scans and diagnostics in communities across the England.
‘This has been made possible by using all capacity available to us and drawing on the independent sector – helping us to cut waiting lists, one of the government’s top five priorities.’
It comes as the NHS is beginning to invite around 400,000 patients who have been waiting the longest for treatment to travel to a different hospital to cut down waiting lists.
But analysis by the Health Foundation indicated that the waiting list for elective NHS care will peak at 8 million next summer if current trends continue, regardless of whether NHS strike action continues.