Significant milestone reached as extra 2 million scans, tests and checks delivered to bust the COVID backlogs – North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

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Local health centres are helping speed up access to lifesaving tests – with the Tees Valley helping to contribute to a national milestone this week.

Deepak DwarakanathThe community diagnostic centres have now carried out more than two million vital tests, checks and scans for patients – with more than 200,000 of these being delivered in the North East and Yorkshire.

In the Tees Valley over this period, the centres have delivered an additional 40,743 diagnostic tests – achieved despite ongoing pressures of the pandemic and winter demand.

More funding has been secured to continue into the next year of the programme, with plans to deliver around 60,000 diagnostic tests across radiology, cardiology, respiratory services over this period.

The one-stop shops offer a range of services in the heart of communities, making tests more accessible for patients.

Based in community settings such as shopping centres and football stadiums, the hubs house a range of cutting-edge equipment, including MRI, CT, X-ray and ultrasound scanners and offer services including blood tests or heart rhythm and blood pressure monitoring.

They are designed to speed up diagnosis of conditions from cancer to heart or lung disease. 

And there are plans, subject to approval, to expand the service in Teesside over the next five years – a scheme delivered by the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System in collaboration with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Stockton high streetThe proposal to have a centre based at the heart of Stockton town centre would help create around 130 new roles.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust currently provides its diagnostic care in hospital by specialists – where patients with ‘nonspecific symptoms’ which could be linked to cancer or other illness are seen within two weeks.

Deepak Dwarakanath, medical director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “These diagnostic centres are helping make healthcare readily available for all.

“Having ‘one stop shop’ access for diagnostic services such as MRI scans and CT scans means patients can receive faster and more convenient health checks outside of the hospital setting and closer to their homes.

“It’s a really exciting development for our region and one we passionately believe is the right one for our population.

“And that is reflected by our partners in the region who all agree this is the right way forward for the region.”

The new centre is one of 160 centres the government is aiming to open across the country by 2025.

NHS medical director for transformation, Vin Diwakar, said: “It is testament to the hard work of staff across the NHS that we have now delivered more than 2 million tests and checks at our one-stop shops, and latest figures show we have the lowest number of patients waiting for tests and checks since we published our elective recovery plan in February.

“We know that rapid diagnosis saves lives, and it is great news that more of these centres have been approved to provide checks and scans in the heart of local communities, making services more accessible and convenient while also helping to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions.”

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