Diagnostic services used to identify serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease will soon be available closer to home for Swindon people.
Over the coming months, three new community diagnostic centres will begin providing services such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans, blood tests, ultrasounds and endoscopies, in the community and away from the traditional large hospital setting.
It is hoped the new sites, one of which is already up and running, will provide greater convenience for local patients, and support staff to see more people in need to investigative care.
The Sulis Hospital in Bath began providing diagnostic services in the spring, while the two further facilities, at the West Swindon Health Centre and Salisbury Central Health Clinic, are expected to open before the end of the year.
Dr Peter Collins, Chief Medical Officer, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “During the pandemic, many diagnostic services were paused, as the NHS focused its attention on caring for patients with Covid-19, and people in need of lifesaving urgent and emergency care.
“Thankfully, with the pandemic now behind us, we are now in a position to really get back up to speed, and reduce the time local people need to wait for this kind of care.
“These new sites will ensure that more people can have the tests they need sooner and closer to home, meaning that conditions such as cancer can either be ruled out or identified much quicker than before.
“What’s more, by having a greater diagnostic capacity in the region, our teams can begin to develop more efficient and effective ways of working, while also utilising the latest technology and clinical advances.”
Dr Barry Coakley, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, 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.”
Another advantage of carrying out more diagnostic care in the community is that staff at the region’s three large hospitals – Great Western Hospital in Swindon, the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Salisbury District Hospital – will have more time to focus on patients with more pressing and complex needs.
The NHS says the community centres will also provide an additional level of resilience to the local health and care system, with appointment cancellations during times of high demand or unexpected events becoming less likely.
Once all three sites are fully operational, it is expected that there will be an extra 65,000 diagnostic appointment slots available in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
In recent months, some diagnostic care has also been provided in mobile units, which have visited a number of different locations across the region.
More information on local health and care services can be found at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk
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