Boost for diagnostic testing across region

Posted on Wed, 06/10/2021

Blaydon Primary Care Centre

Patients across the North East and North Cumbria will benefit from earlier diagnostic tests as it gets a share of a £350m investment across England announced by the Government and NHS on Friday 1 October.

The money provides a welcome boost to the region’s NHS recovery plans to speed up testing and treatments and also improve patient experience.

Investment includes

  • Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust will use funding for a new CT and MRI services at Blaydon Primary Care Centre to help reduce waiting times for people across the region. It will also help to improve access for people living across Gateshead, the west of Newcastle and west Northumberland to diagnostic services. The Trust already provides X-ray, audiology and range of outpatient clinics from the Blaydon Centre.
  • Additional CT and MRI scanning capacity at Durham Treatment Centre with services extended to seven days a week (from five days a week).  
  • Development of a new virtual hub to provide better access to diagnostic tests and scans for patients at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. This will include additional CT and MRI scanning capacity across both trusts, which will help to reduce waiting times and enable patients to access treatment closer to where they live. 
  • A new CT scanner at North Tyneside General Hospital (Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) to deliver and improve access to scans for people in North Tyneside and Northumberland.
  • New MRI and CT scanners and extra ultrasound scanning, echocardiography and lung-function testing equipment at a number of sites in the Tees Valley.
  • Expansion of current capacity at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust including CT and MRI scanner and additional endoscopy and ultrasound capacity.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, chair-designate for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System said: “This is a welcome and timely investment in our diagnostic testing which will benefit people right across our region.

“We’re already making progress on catching up on scanning and testing to pre-pandemic levels. This extra investment will help us drive down waiting times and improve access to vital tests for our communities as we further develop our community diagnostic centre plans.

“As a region we’re already working together to get people diagnosed quickly, as we know spotting issues early, especially cancer, helps saves lives.”

Plans are being developed to create community diagnostic centres across the region. Work with partners is underway looking at improving access to testing for local people through new sites in the community.

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