More life-saving diagnostic checks to be made available to people in Cheshire and Merseyside

NHS Cheshire And Merseyside Logo
NHS Cheshire And Merseyside Logo

Thousands more diagnostic tests are to be made available to people in Cheshire and Merseyside with the announcement that two new community diagnostics centres (CDCs) have been given the go-ahead by the Government.

A network of CDCs is being opened across our region, providing patients with quick and easy access to diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound and blood tests - all in one place. They are designed to speed up diagnosis of conditions from cancer to heart or lung disease and are based at non-acute settings with easy access for the public.

CDCs have delivered more than two million vital tests, checks and scans for patients in England with a further 10 centres now approved, the Health and Social Care Secretary announced on October 11th.

Health and Social Care Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “My number one priority is delivering for patients and we’re getting on with the job of tackling the issues that affect people most - ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists. I’m announcing the approval of 10 new community diagnostic centres which are helping to bust the Covid backlogs by delivering vital tests, checks and scans in local areas.

“They’ve delivered over two million checks over the past year, diagnosing conditions from cancer to lung disease – and we’re on track to open up to 160 centres across the country by 2025, delivering an additional 17 million checks.”

People in Cheshire and Merseyside already benefit from five centres across Cheshire and Merseyside, with CDCs in St Helens, Wirral, Liverpool, Ellesmere Port and Northwich.

Deborah Mitchell, 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 across Cheshire and Merseyside to tackle the number of people waiting for tests and the two new Community Diagnostic Hubs brings our total to 13 across the North West, providing much-needed additional testing capacity.”

The sites have been selected following analysis to determine where CDCs would be most beneficial in reducing waiting lists and tackling health inequalities whilst making the best use of existing NHS estates and have delivered over 60,000 tests in Cheshire and Merseyside so far this year.

Dr Liz Bishop, Senior Responsible Officer for the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said: “CDCs are increasing capacity and improving access for patients in our region. Their ability to provide a one-stop-shop approach, in a non-acute environment where we can complete multiple tests at the same time, means we can achieve a diagnosis sooner and improve patient access and experience.”

The CDCs in Cheshire and Merseyside expect to have delivered almost 140,000 tests by the end of 2022/23 and will soon be joined by two new centres at Halton General Hospital and Southport & Formby District General Hospital.

Lesley Neary, Chief Operating Officer at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to hear that we have been successful in our bid to become a Community Diagnostic Centre. The new CDC is just one part of our plans to further invest in local services. It will be an expansion of our current services at Southport and Formby District General Hospital and will provide a modern ‘one-stop shop’ diagnostics and healthcare facility. The CDC will increase the range and capacity of diagnostic tests available and provide more timely diagnoses for patients.”

Lucy Gardner, Director of Strategy & Partnerships for Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is exciting news for the people of Halton and Warrington who will benefit from increased capacity to support earlier diagnosis of conditions such as cancer. Improved access to testing, including enhanced phlebotomy and ultrasound services, will improve outcomes for patients in one of the most deprived parts of Cheshire and Merseyside.”

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.