We want to hear your views about new Community Diagnostic Hubs
What are diagnostics?
If you are unwell and experiencing ongoing signs or symptoms, your doctor might request that you have further diagnostic tests or physical examinations.
You will usually be referred for these tests, at a hospital or large health centre, to confirm or rule out specific conditions or diseases. Diagnostic tests can help to give a guide on how best to treat your condition and how effective different treatments might be, helping you manage your symptoms and hopefully even cure your illness.
There are a number of different diagnostic tests and procedures used across health services – some are simple: such a as blood test, while others take more time, rely on more complex equipment and additional skills by the person undertaking them. These are known as Invasive or Non-Invasive.
Invasive tests are medical procedures that involve physically entering the body in some way and include biopsies and colonoscopies (using a camera to look inside the bowel).
Non-invasive diagnostic testing does not involve making a break in the skin and usually involves highly advanced technology that creates images of organs, soft tissues and bones inside the body. For example, an X-Ray to find a broken bone, MRI, ultrasound or mammogram.
Across South Yorkshire, health services are looking at what changes we can make to help people receive these tests faster, receive a diagnosis earlier and get more people onto their treatment journeys sooner.
What are Community Diagnostic Hubs?
Community Diagnostic Hubs are intended to improve diagnostics across England. In October 2020, the Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal review led by Sir Mike Richards outlined several projects that could be delivered to improve diagnostics across England.
One of the recommendations from the Richard’s review was to create Community Diagnostic Hubs (CDHs - when they open they may be called something else but here we will refer to them as CDHs). These would be centres based in the community, often closer to where people live than larger hospital sites, that would provide diagnostic testing. The goal is that patients will be able to visit this facility (or facilities) and, where possible, have all their tests done in the same place and on the same day. There are many aims for the CDHs which are still being finalised but one of the key ones is to improve the patient experience in diagnosis. CDHs could prevent patients moving backwards and forwards across healthcare sites, from NHS site to NHS site, from specialist to specialist, and instead enable them to visit one site in one day and receive a clear and faster diagnosis.
In South Yorkshire we are currently working on putting some Community Diagnostic Hubs in place. These will be set up next year followed by several more in subsequent years. We want to do this as quickly as possible but also in a way that’s right for patients and that’s why we would like your views to help shape planning and decision making.