In a significant development for healthcare in the UK, community diagnostic centres (CDCs) have successfully conducted over four million additional checks, tests, and scans since July 2021. These centres are designed to address a range of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Which have played a crucial role in reducing waiting lists and providing patients with quicker access to essential care.
As part of the UK government’s commitment to opening 160 CDCs by March 2025. The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced that eight new centres will be established by the end of this year. Once fully operational, these facilities will have the capacity to perform more than 742,000 additional tests annually. Moreover, significantly enhances access to healthcare services.
Enhanced Access to Care and Quicker Diagnosis for Patients
With 108 CDCs already operational, the government has invested £2.3 billion to revolutionize diagnostic services. An additional 41 centres are slated to open in various settings. Including shopping centres and university campuses, since the program’s launch in July 2021.
By referring patients to these CDCs, general practitioners (GPs) enable them to undergo life-saving checks closer to their homes. Negating the need for hospital visits. The convenience offered to patients is matched by the efficiency achieved by staff, thereby freeing up clinicians’ time and contributing to the reduction of waiting lists.
The government is actively taking other measures to address healthcare backlogs and empower patient choice. Recently, it was announced that patients will have the autonomy to choose the location where they receive hospital care. Presently, only 1 in 10 patients exercise this right. But research indicates that exercising choice can potentially reduce waiting times by up to three months when selecting a different hospital within the same region.
NHS Makes Strides in Elective Recovery Plan, Substantially Reducing Waiting Times
The NHS has made significant progress in its Elective Recovery Plan. Already meeting the first target of virtually eliminating waits exceeding two years. Moreover, 18-month waits have been reduced by over 91% since reaching their peak in September 2021.
The NHS is actively increasing its workforce, and plans are underway to publish a long-term workforce plan that outlines strategies for recruitment and staff retention. These initiatives are supported by a funding commitment of up to £14.1 billion for health and social care over the next two years. Indeed supplementing the record levels of funding already in place.