People living in north east London are being asked for their feedback on proposals by the local NHS to improve access to a range of key tests and treatments.
Health and care organisations have been working together on the proposals which would see community diagnostic centres expanded and developed.
The aim is to increase capacity, where it is most needed, for a range of tests and to improve access to treatment and outcomes for patients while reducing health inequalities. This would in turn boost efficiency, reducing pressure on local hospitals.
A public consultation is now under way and views are being sought from people and their representatives in Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. People will be able to share feedback on the proposals until 13 September 2022.
Community diagnostic centres act as one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests for a range of conditions – enabling patients to access these closer to home, rather than travelling to hospital. NHS North East London is proposing to:
- expand its two most developed sites at Mile End Hospital and Barking Community Hospital
- look at the costs, benefits and possibilities of developing other NHS sites in the next few years – including at King George Hospital in Ilford and/or St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub in Havering, a suitable site in the west of the area and the Whipps Cross Hospital site
- consider the development of smaller centres in shopping centres – for example Canary Wharf, Westfield Stratford and Liberty Romford – that would focus on a smaller range of tests either as temporary centres to clear the backlog or longer term, perhaps instead of some of the NHS sites detailed above
- change the way people access tests, enabling GPs greater ability to book patients directly into clinics at times to suit their conditions and lifestyle. This will put patients in more control of their care.
Joseph Huang, Divisional Director for Cancer and Clinical Support at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and Community Diagnostic Centres Clinical Lead for NHS North East London, said:
“The focus of community diagnostic centres would be on providing better, faster access to a range of diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and taking blood samples, which help GPs assess a patient’s condition, particularly for planned surgery.
“This would also help free up capacity in our hospitals for patients with more complex, and often more urgent conditions; reducing overall waiting times for treatment for patients across north east London.
“Our proposals have been developed and agreed by clinical experts in a range of specialties, including cancer, and take account of the feedback we received at workshops and presentations, but we now want to hear from local people and their representatives.
“This includes carers, members of community and voluntary sector organisations, parents and guardians, elderly people, health and social care professionals, regulators and the public. Please take a close look at our proposals and let us know what you think.”
To find out more and share your views, you can read the proposals in detail and respond to an online questionnaire at: www.eastlondonhcp.nhs.uk/communitydiagnosticcentres
Paper copies of the document and questionnaire will be available at locations around north east London (including hospitals and libraries) and can be requested by phoning 020 3688 1216.
There will also be a number of online events. More information is available on the NHS North East London website for the events on:
- Saturday 13 August at 10am
- Thursday 25 August at 6pm
- Wednesday 7 September at 10am
Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) allow patients to access planned diagnostic care nearer to home without the need to attend acute hospital sites. One fully operational CDC could provide up to 100,000 additional radiology tests per year and tens of thousands more heart, respiratory, gynaecology, ophthalmology and other tests. This additional capacity helps the NHS reduce waiting times for operations, free up capacity in hospitals for more complex (and often urgent) cases, and address health inequalities.
NHS North East London serves more than two million people across eight local authority areas: Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. It is responsible for planning and buying health services across north east London to meet its population’s needs, making sure all parts of the local health system work effectively together. For more information about NHS North East London, visit www.northeastlondon.icb.nhs.uk/