A NEW Community Diagnostic Hub will open at Kidderminster Hospital next year - which will reduce waits for those awaiting diagnostic tests.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been given extra funding by NHS England and NHS Improvement to take part in a national programme to help the NHS further accelerate diagnostic activity and recover services from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as quickly as possible.

A new mobile CT scanner is up and running on the Kidderminster site and a mobile endoscopy unit is also being installed. Between them, the new facilities will mean around 8,000 more patients will be able to get the tests they need quicker and safely between now and the end of March 2022.

Additional funding is also in place for a permanent Community Diagnostic Hub which will provide an additional CT scanner, a brand new three room endoscopy unit which will provide double the capacity of the existing unit, and an additional ultrasound room in addition to the two already in place. The new permanent facilities are due to come on line in April 2022.

The creation of the Community Diagnostic Hub will further help continue the momentum that has already begun on diagnostic recovery in the county.

Paul Brennan, Chief Operating Officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of hospital staff, and the success of the vaccine programme, in recent months we have been able to deliver far more planned care for patients with non-COVID concerns than during the first wave of the pandemic.

“The mission now is to increase this activity further, ensuring that as many people as possible get the tests and treatment they need, prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need, addressing the longest waiters, and being mindful of the health inequalities COVID-19 highlighted.”

Dr Carl Ellson, Medical Director for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG, said: “We are pleased to be able to confirm that the first of these Community Diagnostic Hubs (CDH) will be located in Kidderminster and that we’ve been able to use this Early Adopter funding to reduce waiting lists across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

“We will continue to work together with system partners to expand this programme over the next five years. This will enable Herefordshire and Worcestershire to offer additional diagnostic capacity at other CDH sites across the two counties.

“Our priority is to address the waiting lists that have grown during the pandemic and to use the additional capacity at the CDHs to ensure patients can get the investigations they require in a timely manner and meet growing demand for diagnostic tests in the future.”