I'm delighted to hear the news that Devizes constituents will benefit from two new Community Diagnostic Centres (CDC) to be based in Swindon and Salisbury, which will offer a wider range of tests closer to home, speeding up access to potentially lifesaving tests and checks.
The new CDC in Salisbury - based in Avon Approach - will specialise in cardiology, respiratory and CT tests and scans, and Swindon's - based in Link Avenue - will specialise in CT, MRI, respiratory, echocardiography, cardiology, sleep studies and pathology tests and scans. Both will begin serving patients through mobile facilities from December this year, with remaining facilities opening by September 2024. Once fully operational, each of these CDCs will be able to deliver more than 18,000 checks, tests and scans each year.
They are part of a national programme which constitutes the largest central cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS and has already delivered more than five million additional tests, checks and scans across the country. The new centres will provide capacity for nine million more by 2025 as part of the NHS and Government’s plan to recover services following the pandemic.
Alongside this, as the Prime Minister originally announced in May, hundreds of thousands of NHS patients who have been waiting longer than 40 weeks for treatment will today be offered the opportunity to travel to a different hospital as part of ambitious measures set out in the Elective Recovery Plan.
Any patient who has been waiting longer than 40 weeks and does not have an appointment within the next eight weeks will be contacted by their hospital via letter, text, or email. The 400,000 eligible patients who will then be able to submit their details including how far they are willing to travel.
Thanks to this and wider measures, the government successfully met the first target in its elective recovery plan to virtually eliminate waits of over 2 years and has cut 18 month waits by over 90% from the peak in September 2021.
Earlier this month, the Government also invested £200 million to boost resilience in the NHS and help patients get the care they need as quickly as possible this winter. The new funding came after the Prime Minister and Health and Social Care Secretary met clinical leaders and NHS chiefs to drive forward planning to ease pressures in urgent and emergency care while protecting waiting list targets this winter. Alongside this, £40 million was invested to bolster social care capacity and improve discharge from hospital.