A new diagnostic centre offering X-rays, MRI, CT, ultrasound, ECHO and DEXA scanning to patients across Gloucestershire will help clear Covid-19 backlogs and is set to open in the centre of Gloucester from March 2023.
The £15m Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) is the first in the South West to be approved by NHS England, meaning that work on the county council owned building on the city’s quayside can now get underway, with Kier as the construction contractor.
One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS) partners are working together to oversee the development, which aims to provide patients with the tests they need in a convenient location and quickly - in the fewest possible number of visits.
SoGlos understands that while some services will be centralised at the new facility it will allow the county to carry out an additional 50,000 diagnostic tests per year. There will be no reduction in staffing, with new staff recruited specially.
Some of those diagnostic tests will be 'simple' blood tests, but the majority (over 40,000) will be access
to additional diagnostic imaging – CT, MRI, X-ray, Ultrasound and DEXA
Dr Andy Seymour, chief medical officer at NHS Gloucestershire, said: ‘Our local teams have been working really hard to bring scans and tests back up to pre-pandemic levels, and this new investment will really help us to work through COVID-19 backlogs and speed up access to life-saving tests.
‘Faster diagnosis is vital in diagnosing a host of conditions, including cancer, as early as possible. Making it easier and quicker for patients to get the tests and scans they need will help to detect conditions sooner and give patients the best possible chances of recovering.
‘If a patient requires more than one type of scan, the
centre will aim to provide these in one visit, to reduce travelling and waiting
times for diagnoses.’
Simon Lanceley, director of strategy at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is leading the programme, said: ‘This means we can increase diagnostic capacity by investing in new, high quality facilities, equipment and staff.
‘This will help us to improve both our productivity and efficiency by seeing a greater number of patients more quickly and diagnose conditions earlier, faster and more accurately.
‘We plan to increase the number of one-stop clinics, where patients are able to access a range of tests and see their specialist team at the same appointment.
‘We also hope this new centre will help us to attract and retain more health professionals within Gloucestershire, boost morale and bring higher levels of job satisfaction.’
According to the NHS, the centre will allow the county’s two main hospitals to reduce the number of diagnostic appointments they provide, allowing hospital staff to focus on providing acute care, leading to fewer cancelled appointments for patients.
Paul Roberts, chief executive at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Its central location in the county, with public transport links and parking for staff and patients on site, means the development at Quayside provides good access.’
Dr Georgios Chatzakis, radiology specialty director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The centre is being equipped with the latest equipment and technology to provide patients and staff with high quality images, scans and information.
‘The clinical and operational facilities will offer privacy and space, allowing us to give patients the best possible diagnostic experience.’
The new centre will open in phases, with CT and MRI services operational by March 2023 and a full range of services available from October 2023. Quayside House is already home to Severnside Medical Practice and Gloucester Health Access Centre.