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Have your say on diagnostic hubs that could take non-emergency testing out of hospitals

People are being asked what they think of proposals for a series of new NHS centres across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire that would carry out the majority of non-emergency tests and scans.

The plans are still at an early stage. However, people are now able to fill in an online survey about what they think of current diagnostic services, say what works well and suggest what could be improved.

The proposed “Community Diagnostic Hubs” wouldn’t treat people. Instead, they would offer a quicker, more convenient place to have symptoms investigated promptly.

Dr Gary Free, a GP and Clinical Lead for the Community Diagnostic Hubs project, said: “Investigating symptoms is absolutely key in improving the health of local people and we believe these hubs could help get test results to both General Practice and hospitals in a quicker and more efficient way.

“The majority of the tests we are looking at are currently carried out in hospitals. For patients that can mean a considerable journey, finding a place to park and getting to the right part of a large and complex building. Sometimes tests are cancelled because more urgent cases need to be dealt with. We think we can improve on this.”

No locations have yet been decided and more work will be undertaken before further proposals are developed.

Some tests that would be carried out include:

  • CT and MRI scans

  • X-Rays

  • Ultrasound

  • Heart monitoring

  • Lung function tests

  • Blood tests

  • Biopsies

Investment would improve the way services are currently provided for people with a range of conditions. In the first instance, this would include those with Long COVID, breathlessness and heart valve disease symptoms.

Dr Free said: “We believe diagnostic hubs could make getting these test results more efficient, and easier for people to access. We would also aim to provide services seven days a week and extend opening hours into the evening.

“They would not deliver emergency diagnostic tests that need an immediate turn-around. That would still be done in hospital and be available 24 hours a day.

“We wouldn’t just be investing in new facilities. We are also looking at improving equipment and extra training and skills for our staff.

“We really want to make sure everyone has a chance to give us their feedback so we can use it to help improve services.”

The Community Diagnostic Hubs (CDHs) Survey is now live and runs until midnight on Monday August 23.

Anyone needing help completing the survey can call 0333 150 2155 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

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