Partnership working is key to delivering Community Diagnostic Centres across the Tees Valley

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The NHS spends over £6bn pa on over 100 diagnostic services and carries out an estimated 1.5 billion diagnostic tests. Diagnostic activity forms part of over 85% of clinical pathways. Community Diagnostics Centres (CDCs) are one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests in local communities.  NHS E/I are rolling out 160 CDCs bringing tests closer to home, improving access and reducing patient waiting times meaning patients can be seen when and where is most convenient.

Community Health Partnerships (CHP) have early adopter CDC sites, including Finchley Memorial Hospital which opened for patients in July 2021, with more CDCs in development across England including Lawson Street Health Centre (LSHC) in Stockton-on-Tees. LHSC is part of the Tees Valley Hub and spoke model. It is ready for services to commence soon, after minor works overseen by the building Landlord, Durham and Tees Community Ventures, were completed on budget and on time for 31 March 2022.  Work included installing air conditioning to mitigate the heat generated by scanning units. Improvements to IT capabilities are the next step before services begin.

Community Diagnostic Centre Lawson Street Health Centre, Stockton-on-Tees

LSHC is a three-storey 3200m2 healthcare centre with two GP surgeries, a pharmacy along with community dental health, the district health team as well as musculoskeletal, and sexual health services.  As with most CHP buildings, bookable rooms are available for sessional services.

The CDC will be on the ground floor of the health centre in an area previously used by another GP surgery.  It will be adjacent to the current Covid-19 hot hub area but will have a separate entrance and exit to ensure that it complies with infection control guidelines. Diagnostic services provided within the CDC will include Ultrasound and Echocardiograms.  Previously patients travelled to University Hospital of Hartlepool, 25 minutes away, for these tests so having a site within their local community delivers increased choice and accessibility for those patients who were previously travelling the furthest.  LSHC is an ideal location, and we were able to work with partners to make space available for the proposed services.

Lawson Street Health Centre, Stockton on Tees

Partnership working across Tees Valley

CHP and Durham and Tees Community Ventures worked alongside the Tees Valley ICP Diagnostics Collaborative led by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with Tees Valley CCG and NHS PS teams.  The collaborative worked to ensure their CDC design and implementation plan is tailored to local population health needs.  All organisations are within the North East and North Cumbria ICS footprint, helping to develop a Community Diagnostic Centre strategy for the patients across the Tees Valley.

CHP is working with teams on a shared vision to plan and deliver the CDC at the Lawson Street site; regular visits and meetings took place with the clinicians and managers delivering the services with Trust estates teams to confirm services and upgrades to the CDC space.  There were regular meetings with the existing hot hub to identify solutions that work will for them and the incoming services.

The CDC at Lawson Street is an excellent example of what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time if all partners work together collaboratively. Regular structured meetings enabled open and honest dialogue to take place between all interested parties, which ensured that all issues were dealt with swiftly and effectively.

How CHP is helping to provide Community Diagnostic Centres

CHP, as an NHS Company, is responsible for over 300 health properties across England, delivered through the NHS LIFT programme, often in areas of high health needs. These facilities are high quality, accessible, adaptable local health infrastructure assets available to the NHS now. CHP has substantial delivery capabilities, and a procurement safe supply chain so we can respond to requests for feasibility studies and adaptions quickly and efficiently.

Opportunities for CDCs across the NE – in high quality, modern facilities close to home

We have 69 community-based buildings in the North East developed via public private partnerships. Our data shows we already host a range of specialist diagnostic services including 1 MRI Scanner, 1 CT Scanner, 5 X-Ray rooms, 9 Audiology rooms, 15 Ophthalmology Rooms, 8 Ultrasound rooms and 12 Buildings with Minor Operation suites.

To find out more about how we can support ICS teams to deliver a Community Diagnostic Centre in your local area, please contact your Regional Director.

Author: Dr Jane Fitch, Regional Director North East, Community Health Partnerships

CHP Regional Directors

North West Andy Muir
North East Jane Fitch
Midlands and East Mark Grinonneau
London Philippa Robinson
South Simon Waters

Read: Community Diagnostic Centres

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13 June 2022