CHP supports new Community Diagnostic Centres to benefit patients

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CHP as part of the NHS is facilitating work to boost the provision of life-saving checks and diagnostics in community settings.

One of the first new Community Diagnostic Centres to be opened is at Finchley Memorial Hospital in Barnet. One of 40 planned across England, it will boost diagnostic capacity across north central London and provide patients with quicker and more convenient access to important tests for conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease.

Services include CT, MRI, ultrasound and ophthalmology scans, additional phlebotomy (blood tests), cardiology and respiratory tests and vascular thermography. The services will go live over the course of this year with the two scanners already operational.

“The goal is that patients will be able to visit these buildings and, as far as possible, have all their tests done in the same place and on the same day closer to home”

The hub is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once fully operational, it is expected to provide appointments for 1,200 patients per week, helping to ensure they receive a diagnosis and any required treatment more quickly.

Finchley Memorial Hospital and the Tessa Jowell Health Centre, both in London, are part of the ‘early adopters’ series of centres being developed, with CHP health centres in the Midlands and North East also being assessed for inclusion.

They will also support the NHS is seeking to reduce the backlog of treatment which has built up during the time of the pandemic.

The goal is that patients will be able to visit these buildings and, as far as possible, have all their tests done in the same place and on the same day closer to home, with more confidence, as they will be more familiar with the environment.

Nine out of 10 of CHP’s LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) buildings are in areas of high health needs, making access to timely testing critical to reducing the potential for serious and life-threatening conditions.  They were also designed to be flexible enough to cater for the future needs of the NHS, making them good candidates for the newly created diagnostic centres.

At Finchley, there are already mobile CT and MRI scanners on site and work has started to assess the feasibility of installing a second MRI scanner permanently inside the building itself.

The development was led by North Central London Integrated Care System with the lead Trust being the Royal Free London.  CHP and the North London Estates Partnerships LIFT Company worked with the commissioners and providers to design it.

The changes had the added benefit of reducing void space in the building and providing accommodation for administrative support.

Alex Pinches, director of operations for RFL group clinical services and senior responsible owner for the project, added: “This new centre allows us to offer key diagnostic services across north London. It has been truly inspiring to see how NHS partners in North Central London have worked collaboratively to ensure we can provide this service, which will help deliver treatments to our patients sooner. We are equally excited about expanding this service next year.”

CHP London Regional Director Philippa Robinson, said that it was exciting to be part of a project which would so directly benefit patient care.

“Working with our partners, we have taken a flexible and speedy approach to adapting the building in order to accommodate the new services and ensure that care can be offered efficiently, quickly and locally to support improved access and health outcomes for patients,” she said. “We are looking forward to using the experience from this and other projects to support other similar initiatives across the country.”

At the Tessa Jowell Health Centre in Dulwich, CHP is working with NHS partners in the South East London ICS and the LIFT Company, Building Better Health, to provide a wide range of diagnostic services under one roof.