NHS England has approved the construction of a £15m Community Diagnostic Centre in the north east, an ICB has confirmed.
According to North East and North Cumbria ICB, the building work will start in March 2023, and is expected to be operational from spring 2024.
The centre will offer MRI, CT and ultrasound scanning for patients across North Cumbria, and will be based out of Workington town centre.
Referrals to diagnostic services in North Cumbria have doubled since before the Covid pandemic, which the ICB has said has led to longer waiting times.
To alleviate the waits, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) has been operating temporary mobile units at its two main hospital sites. The CDC will provide a permanent solution, the ICB said.
Dr Neil O’Brien, medical director at the ICB, said: ‘We have already made good progress across the region to tackle waiting lists and the backlog which has developed from the pandemic. I am pleased to say we are doing better than the national average when it comes to meeting targets for diagnostics which is a huge credit to our teams. But of course there is always more we can do and want to do.
‘This new centre will help us drive forward further improvements not only to the time people wait but also their experience of care with a much better environment and new ways of providing care such as offering all tests in one day.’
And Dr Louise Dodgeon, clinical director for Radiology at NCIC, said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded the funding to build a new Community Diagnostic Centre in Workington. We have been working hard to recover from the big impact that Covid-19 had on our waiting lists and we are making good progress. By providing more diagnostics, this will help with quicker diagnoses of a range of conditions.’