Supporting clinical decision-making

Diagnostics plays a really important role in hospital services.

By delivering an in-depth assessment of a patient's body, diagnostics are vital services that help healthcare professionals to understand what clinical actions they should take next. This might be surgery or another diagnostic scan, and can be across a specific area of the body, or the whole body itself.

Diagnostics services cover the following areas:

  • Pathology (study of disease)
  • Endoscopy (a medical procedure where internal organs in the body are looked at using an instrument called an endoscope) 
  • Imaging (diagnostic imaging refers to non-invasive methods of looking inside the body such as an X-ray or MRI scan)
  • Physiological measures (assessments of how well the body functions through devices such as ECG heart scan
  • Genomics (to find changes in genes that can cause health problems, often inherited health conditions and some cancers)

In South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw (SYB), we are working towards improving our diagnostic results for serious illnesses - especially cancer. The aim is to help diagnose disease and illness earlier in order to treat people earlier - and so improve overall outcomes for patients.

The SYB Pathology and Diagnostics Networks have already made improvements in waiting times for diagnostic investigations. We want to build on this work to raise greater awareness of cancer symptoms, lower the threshold for referral by GPs, speed up access to diagnosis and treatment and maximise the number of cancers that we identify through screening.

By working more closely with Primary Care Networks (groups of practices that work closely together to focus on local patient care) and screening and immunisation teams we are working with communities to increase uptake of the HPV vaccination and cancer screening. We have also introduced lung health checks (including mobile units), are scaling-up rapid diagnostic centres and have strengthened our regional workforce by working as a network.