General

Shopping centre clinics to help tackle NHS backlog

Shopping centre clinics to help tackle NHS backlog
Henry

New one-stop shops for scans and tests will be set up in community venues in England, including shopping centres and a Premier League football stadium.

Ministers said the network of 40 diagnostic clinics will help tackle the growing backlog in hospital treatment.

They will be able to carry out checks on cancer patients and scans to see if people need surgery for things such as knee and hip replacements.

The aim is to have them all up and running by March.

They will be kitted out with a range of equipment to carry out X-rays, breast screening, ultrasounds and CT and MRI scans.

Among the sites chosen for the new clinics are:

  • The Glass Works shopping centre in Barnsley
  • Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club's Amex Stadium
  • A department store in Poole
  • A new community health clinic in Oldham
2px presentational grey line

What difference will the clinics make?

Analysis box by Nick Triggle, health correspondent

Carrying out diagnostic tests in community settings is nothing new. A number of hospitals already operate similar clinics - in fact some of the sites included in this announcement are running now.

The investment is much needed. Access to tests and scans is a real bottleneck in the system at the moment, slowing down the ability of the NHS to work its way through the backlog in routine care and, sometimes, delaying the diagnosis of cancer.

The aim is to get these tests done within six weeks of referral, unless it is an urgent cancer case.

But currently nearly a quarter of patients wait longer than that. Before the pandemic fewer than 5% did.

The NHS carries out more than 15 million diagnostic tests a year. The government says these clinics will be able to do 2.8 million.

But as there is a shortage of specialists to carry out these tests, it remains to be seen by how much these clinics will expand capacity rather than just lead to services being transferred from hospital into the community.

2px presentational grey line

The need for investment in diagnostic tests was highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan in 2019.

A review published last year - led by former cancer tsar Prof Sir Mike Richards - said the pandemic had just heightened the need for changes to the way tests are provided.

The idea was to create greater capacity in the community so hospital testing and scanning facilities can be focused more on emergency patients.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said the investment - worth £350m - would help tackle the backlog in treatment caused by the pandemic.

"Tackling waiting lists will require new and more innovative ways of delivering the services people need," he said.

"That is why we're making it easier and more convenient to get checked."

And NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard added: "These one-stop shops will also help us to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions, ultimately sparing more patients and families the pain and trauma of disease."

Banner saying 'Get in touch'

Are you waiting for NHS treatment? Has your operation been delayed? Get in touch using the form below.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:

If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at [email protected]. Please include your name, age and location with any submission.

Trending News

New Year snow flurries fall across England

New Year snow flurries fall across...

Many parts of England have seen snow flurries accompany the arrival of New Year. Areas which welcomed in 2021 with several centimetres...

Covid in Scotland The people who have lost their lives to Covid 19

Covid in Scotland The people who have...

As Scotland's coronavirus death toll passes 6,000 and continues to rise, we are sharing the stories of some of those who have...

Week in pictures 5 11 December 2020

Week in pictures 5 11 December 2020...

A selection of powerful news photographs taken around the world this week. image copyrightJacob King / Reutersimage captionMargaret...

Huddersfield phone mast fire put residents at risk

Huddersfield phone mast fire put residents...

A phone mast fire led to dozens of people being evacuated from their homes in Huddersfield in the early hours.It is not yet known what...

Coronavirus Who is still flying

Coronavirus Who is still flying...

media captionInside the almost deserted Heathrow airportLondon's Heathrow airport normally has about 600 flights landing on an...

When is tax dodging illegal

When is tax dodging illegal...

There are a lot of rash statements being made about whether or not the K2 tax avoidance scheme used by Jimmy Carr was "legal".The...

Our Latest Blog

Click to read Biden election Mike Pence welcomes senators bid to derail result

Biden election Mike Pence welcomes senators bid to derail result

US Vice-President Mike Pence has welcomed an effort by a group of senators to refuse to certify Joe Biden's presidential election...

Click to read Inauguration 2021 What happens on the day Biden is sworn in

Inauguration 2021 What happens on the day Biden is sworn in

Joe Biden is US president-elect. But the Democrat won't officially make his move to the White House until inauguration day - a...

Click to read Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell s homes vandalised

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell s homes vandalised

Vandals in the US have attacked the homes of the leaders of the two houses of Congress on the eve of a new session and the swearing-in...

Click to read Veteran US broadcaster Larry King in hospital with Covid

Veteran US broadcaster Larry King in hospital with Covid

Veteran broadcaster Larry King, 87, has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at a hospital in Los Angeles, according...

Click to read Policeman buys family food instead of arresting them for shoplifting

Policeman buys family food instead of arresting them for shoplifting

A US police officer who was called out to arrest a family suspected of shoplifting instead bought them some food so they could have...

Click to read Suspected Islamists kill dozens in attacks on two Niger villages

Suspected Islamists kill dozens in attacks on two Niger villages

Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in Niger, with reports of dozens of civilians killed. Around 49 died and 17...