Published on: 6 February 2023
This new investment will deliver more convenient access and shorter waiting times for vital diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy procedures and MRI scans, say local NHS leaders.
The NHS in Coventry and Warwickshire has secured £34 million worth of funding for 3 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) located across the local area. The new investment from NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) will provide a welcome boost to the health service locally as they look to continue to reduce diagnostic waiting times.
The cash injection into the 3 local CDCs means patients will be seen quicker and their conditions diagnosed sooner, which is vital in giving patients the best possible chance of successful treatment for potentially life-threatening conditions, such as cancer.
Residents in Warwickshire North and South Warwickshire are already seeing the benefits of the new CDCs. Warwickshire North CDC is based adjacent to George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and the new funding will see a further expansion of services including diagnostic tests for cancer and new CT and MRI scanners.
South Warwickshire CDC, based at Stratford Hospital, has introduced different diagnostic equipment throughout 2022. This has increased access to CT and MRI scans. In 2024, a dedicated building will be opened on the hospital site to co-locate it all.
Coventry CDC is also set to open in 2024 and will be made up of two parts, split between Coventry and Rugby.
In Coventry, a dedicated CDC will be developed in the heart of the city in the Paybody building on the City of Coventry Health Centre site, with major works ongoing from 2023 to 2024. The location of the centre will mean that patients will benefit from the accessibility and transport links of the central location and will have easier access to a range of diagnostic services as well as Cancer diagnostic pathways.
In Rugby, plans have been approved for a new Endoscopy Unit to be opened at the Hospital of St Cross in summer 2023, with works set to begin soon. The Unit will increase capacity for CT and Ultrasound services.
The services offered at CDCs will be separate to urgent diagnostic test facilities. This reduces the number of hospital visits and reduces waiting times for patients by diverting people away from hospitals – so hospitals can focus on treating urgent patients while the diagnostic centres focus on tackling the backlog for tests and checks.
In addition to the CDCs, part of the funding will be used to increase diagnostic capacity across Coventry and Warwickshire in the short term while the CDCs are being built, so patients should start to see the benefits from this investment straight away. Since October 2021, there have been over 73,000 additional diagnostic tests delivered across the system due to the CDC investment.
Patients will be referred for diagnostic procedures at CDCs by their GP.
Funding for the three CDCs was secured through a collaborative partnership involving Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), George Eliot Hospital (GEH) NHS Trust, South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust.
Phil Johns, Chief Executive Officer of Coventry and Warwickshire ICB, said:
“This funding is a significant milestone in establishing CDCs and providing more accessible healthcare across Coventry and Warwickshire. The new investment will mean more timely and convenient access to vital and potentially lifesaving diagnostic procedures, which is crucial in ensuring that we are able to find and treat illnesses such as cancer quickly.
“I’m confident that these CDCs will play an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of our local population and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they have in enhancing the quality of healthcare across communities in Coventry and Warwickshire”
Glen Burley, Chief Executive Officer of GEH and SWFT, said:
“We are proud to have been able to open CDCs in Warwickshire at George Eliot Hospital and Stratford Hospital, and this extra funding will enable us to improve essential services as we expand the CDC next year.
“We are already seeing more patients in a quicker timeframe. The creation of CDCs has improved patients’ NHS experience, by enabling them to be seen quicker and therefore increasing their chances of earlier diagnosis.”
Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, added:
“We are committed to ensuring patients have more convenient access to vital diagnostic procedures with shorter waiting times and this new funding will help to deliver on this key objective.
“The two developments in the heart of Coventry and in Rugby will mean that patients will have improved access to planned diagnostic tests closer to home and they will receive care quicker improving their experiences and outcomes.
“This early diagnosis is crucial in giving patients the best possible chance of successful treatment and recovery, and I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact of these new CDCs.”