Building capacity and diagnostics in the community: how ICSs are coping with demand

Across the country, ICSs are adapting new ways of working and adopting new practices to help meet demand. In September, NHS England announced that the NHS had delivered a record number of “potentially life saving tests and checks”, with over 25 million carried out in the last year, thanks to investments in one-stop shops in local communities.

Here, we look at some of the work being done to bring diagnostics into the community.

CDCs offer diagnostics boost in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire

In Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, two new community diagnostic centres (CDCs) are being created to help offer “thousands more scans and investigations” to patients in the region.

The CDCs will provide a range of diagnostic services, including MRI and CT scans, endoscopies, ultrasounds, blood tests and lung tests. Mobile units are being used across Southmead and Cossham hospitals and Weston-super-Mare’s Locality Health Centre until the fixed centres open.

Dr Joanne Medhurst, chief medical officer at NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, said: “We are really excited to be investing in our diagnostic capacity, which will support thousands of people across the area to be seen more quickly – this means that if you do have a serious  illness it can be identified and treated earlier – which can mean, in the longer term, less impact on overall health and wellbeing. We look forward to working with both North Bristol NHS trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust to get the services in place and operational for 1 April 2024.”

New health and wellbeing hub in Hornchurch brings together a range of services under one roof

In North East London, work is under way on a new health and wellbeing centre which will bring together a range of health, social care and community services within a brand new “purpose-built premises”.

The complex will offer access to GP services, outpatient clinics, mental health services, a community diagnostic centre, wellbeing services, local community groups, community cafes, and more.

Work is expected to be completed by spring of 2024.

Jacqui Van Rossum, executive director for North East London Foundation Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to see the new health and wellbeing hub in Havering come to life. It’s the result of years of hard work and close collaboration with our partners and residents in the local area. Giving people easy access to a range of mental and physical health services, all under one roof, can make a huge difference to improving quality of life and reducing health inequalities in the communities we serve.”

Three new CDCs to offer diagnostic services in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire

Three new CDCs will soon be bringing diagnostic services to the residents of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

It is expected that the new capacity offered by the three sites will mean an extra 65,000 diagnostic appointment slots available for the region, meaning its hospitals have “more time to focus on patients with more pressing and complex needs”.

Dr Barry Coakley, deputy chief medical officer for the ICB, said: “These new diagnostic centres will be a fantastic addition to our local NHS, especially as we become much more focused on prevention, and helping people to live longer, happier and healthier lives, in which any potentially serious conditions can be spotted at the very earliest opportunity.” 

Two new healthcare hubs from £25.2 million investment in Norfolk and Waveney

Two new healthcare hubs in Norfolk and Waveney have been announced as part of a £25.2 million investment to “expand and improve health and care facilities in the local area”.

The two new facilities are expected to be completed by Spring/Summer 2024, and will provide “more joined-up services between primary, acute and community care”.

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “We are delighted to get the final go ahead to proceed with this much-needed investment into healthcare services in King’s Lynn and Rackheath. These facilities are a key part of the necessary infrastructure we need to deliver better and more sustainable health and social care within our communities. They will enable primary and community care services to be better integrated, and will improve access to care for people in these growing communities to help them lead healthier lives.”