Important visitor to Barnsley's Community Diagnostic Centre

Message from Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The head of the NHS has visited Barnsley’s award-winning Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) to learn about its latest expansion plans.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, visited the ground-breaking CDC site in Barnsley’s retail centre The Glass Works on Friday (13 October).

The high-tech healthcare unit in the heart of Barnsley is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of hospital staff and has been serving patients since 18 April 2022.

The unit - which offers appointments on a pre-arranged basis - firstly offered:

  • Breast screening and phlebotomy (blood test) services.
  • Plain film X-Ray.
  • DEXA (bone density) screening.
  • Non-obstetric ultrasound.

For its first phase, the CDC was allocated approximately £2.8million of capital funding via the national CDC programme, and a further sum of around £4.6 million from the same pot.

Additional services now include computerised tomography (CT), abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, URO-Dynamics (bladder) and retinal eye screening.

The CDC development means waiting times for some screenings have been cut substantially. For example, waiting times for DEXA (bone density) screenings were cut from six weeks in March 2022 to just one week by October 2022.

Waiting times for plain film X-Ray are also down from two-and-a-half weeks in March 2022 to one-and-a-half weeks, while waits for ultrasound screenings have fallen from six weeks to just two weeks.

Breast screening uptake rates increased from 50 per cent in April 2022 to 72 per cent in October 2022.

Ms Pritchard toured the CDC on Friday and was welcomed by Dr Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.  She then met radiographers, sonographers, speciality nurses in the Capsule Endoscopy Service and NHS apprentices and trainees.

She also got to see our How’s Thi Ticker campaign in action in Barnsley Market, which brings free blood pressure checks to people in their communities and the places they already love.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “It was amazing to visit Barnsley and see firsthand the huge difference that the Community Diagnostic Centre is having on the lives of local people. By bringing health checks to the high street, staff there working with their local partners are ensuring services are as convenient as possible for patients as well as successfully driving down waiting times.

“The staff working at the Community Diagnostic Centre and at the local blood pressure checks in Barnsley Market were incredible - from student radiographers to specialist nurses, they should all be immensely proud of their work. It is absolutely first class and exactly what we want to see happening for patients right across the county.”

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director for Place Health and Adult Social Care, said: “In Barnsley, we’re committed to working together with our partners across Place Health to help local people live happy, healthy lives. We’re proud to be thinking differently about how people can access the support they need, from our award-winning Community Diagnostic Centre in the heart of our town centre to taking free blood pressure checks to our communities with How’s Thi Ticker.

“By thinking differently and bringing health to the high street, we can make positive changes that benefit both the public and our dedicated healthcare workforce. It was therefore great to welcome Amanda Pritchard to show her some of the great things we’re delivering in Barnsley.

“Our hard work doesn’t stop here, and we will continue to build on our strong partnerships within health and care to deliver innovative services together.”

Dr Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Amanda Pritchard to the Community Diagnostic Centre, of which we are immensely proud. The diagnostic hub, developed in partnership with Barnsley Council, was the first of its kind in the UK and has enjoyed a hugely successful first year, delivering thousands of tests, checks and scans for the people of Barnsley. Not only has it increased capacity of diagnostic services to help reduce waiting times, it has also improved access to services to help early detection of diseases.

“We have seen from the public response that it is bringing real benefits to people’s health and wellbeing in an environment that they know – linking up health appointments with everyday life and activity while helping people get vital health checks sooner.”

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