Local health and council leaders marked the official start of construction work at the site where a new Community Diagnostics Centre (CDC) is set to be located at a ceremony in Oldham.
Officials from Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group and Oldham Council joined the team from DAY architects to put the first spade in the ground at the site of the new £4.5m centre at Salmon Fields in Royton, due to open this summer.
Once completed, tens of thousands of patients across Oldham and the surrounding area will benefit from earlier diagnostic testing closer to home at the centre.
Plans have been developed for the next three years to implement CDCs across the North West region to create additional capacity and the existing sites currently continue to deliver activity while these plans to add additional capacity are delivered. The new one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests will provide up to a combined 1.5 million scans across England in their first full year of operation.
The Community Diagnostic Centre in Oldham will be among the many sites being implemented in the region and one of the most innovative schemes in England, and will provide local patients with some of the most advanced diagnostic technology available to the NHS.
Barney Schofield, Director of Planning and Delivery for Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospital and community services in Oldham as well as Bury, Rochdale and Salford, said: “Today is a really exciting and important physical milestone in our journey to providing more scans and testing for local people. This fantastic new development signifies innovation, cutting edge technology and shorter wait times, and means that we will be able to make diagnostic tests more convenient and deliver multiple tests on the same day for our patients, away from our main hospital sites. Ultimately, our ambition is to diagnose disease at an earlier stage of progression, where chances of successful treatment are improved.”
The announcement marks the first stage of delivering the NCA’s wider Community Diagnostics strategy, with additional centres being developed across its Salford footprint, which will deliver imaging, pathology and cardio-respiratory diagnostics services.
In the first phase, the Oldham site which is being developed by local architects DAY will be able to provide a full range of diagnostic imaging technology and lung tests. And through collaboration with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, the facility will also provide patients with access to PET-CT scans, which they currently have to travel to either South Manchester or Wigan to access.
It’s estimated that more than 30,000 patients a year will use the Oldham facility, with a number of benefits being delivered to them, including:
- Earlier diagnosis of both cancer and cardio-respiratory disease, resulting in improved outcomes for patients
- Shorter waiting times and more convenient access for patients.
- Transformed care pathways enabling patients to have multiple tests on the same day in the same place, bringing a ‘one stop shop’ model of care to our communities.
- An overall reduction in hospital visits, helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission; and contribute to the NHS’ net zero ambitions by providing multiple tests at one visit, reducing the number of patient journeys and cutting carbon emissions and air pollution.
Jude Adams, Chief Delivery Officer at Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Rapid diagnosis will save lives and this one-stop shop for checks, scans and tests in the heart of Oldham will not only make services more accessible and convenient for patients, but they will also help us to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions, ultimately sparing more patients and families the pain and trauma of disease.
“Our teams across the NCA have continued to provide routine care, throughout the pandemic, alongside treating thousands of seriously ill Covid patients in hospital, and the roll-out of the community diagnostic centre in Oldham will help us to spot problems sooner, when they are easier to treat.”
Nicola Hepburn, Director of Commissioning for NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group also lent her support to the development, she added:
“We welcome this important next step towards delivering the new centre, adding additional diagnostic capacity for Oldham patients. This fits with our ongoing aspiration to bring services out of hospital and into the community wherever possible. We look forward to working with local GPs and patients to make sure we get the maximum benefit from this new service”.
Oldham Council’s Chief Executive, Harry Catherall, also attended the ground breaking ceremony. Harry said: “This development was approved by our planning committee in January, and today marks the first step towards our residents being able to access this fantastic new centre, meaning people don’t always need to go into hospital for some of the diagnostic tests which are so important to ensuring they get the right care.”