The UK government said it is on track to launch 160 community diagnostic centers (CDCs) by March 2024, a year earlier than initially planned.
This initiative is part of a £2.3bn ($2.79bn) investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity, claimed to be the largest in the history of the NHS.
These CDCs are located in various places, including shopping centres, campuses, and stadiums. Of them, 127 are already operational, while 40 have been opened ahead of schedule.
They offer a wide range of diagnostic tests, reducing the need for hospital visits.
According to a press statement, this investment has delivered over five million tests, with capacity for an additional nine million tests by 2025.
Besides, the government has revealed the locations of three final CDCs, which will serve tens of thousands of patients in south-east London, Yorkshire, and Bognor Regis.
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It is stated that the independent sector oversees 13 CDCs, eight of which are already in operation.
To reduce patient waiting times, the government is allowing those waiting over 40 weeks for treatment to choose a different hospital for faster care.
The Elective Recovery Taskforce is working to ensure that the NHS and independent sector collaborate to deliver post-pandemic recovery and reduce waiting times for patients.
The government has also invested £200m to enhance NHS resilience and provide timely care to patients during the winter.
Health and Social Care secretary Steve Barclay said: “Patients deserve the highest quality care, and community diagnostic centres have been instrumental in speeding up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease to ensure patients are treated more quickly.
“I’m delighted we will open 160 CDCs a year early, allowing greater access to high tech scans and diagnostics in communities across England.
“This has been made possible by using all capacity available to us and drawing on the independent sector – helping us to cut waiting lists, one of the government’s top 5 priorities.”