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Diagnostic centres for Wisbech and Ely welcomed

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MP and former health minister Steve Barclay is “delighted” that Wisbech and Ely hospitals are to get community diagnostic centres

“This means patients will not have to travel so far for certain checks, scans and tests and will be able to access services much closer to home,” he said.

“I have always maintained that low risk, high volume services should be delivered locally.”

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In Wisbech, he said, the NE Cambs Hospital will see an increase in more than 40,000 scans in the first year.

“This is tremendous news and I’m also pleased to hear that once up and running, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System is considering a trial to open the diagnostics centre seven-days-a-week to support waiting list reduction.”

The plans mean some tests, such as MRI or CT scans (which are used to show pictures of inside your body to determine abnormalities, tumours, or to give doctors a clearer image before surgery), should be available to patients at Wisbech from December this year.

From next April there should be extra capacity for NOUS services (Non-Obstetric Ultrasound Scans which are used to create images of soft tissue structures such as the gallbladder, liver or bladder to help diagnose gallstones and other illnesses) and Phlebotomy (having blood taken for testing).

New services for Echocardiography (an ultrasound scan that shows how well your heart is working) will also be introduced.

DEXA (bone density scans that test how strong your bones are and could be used to diagnose osteoporosis) and Peripheral Neurophysiology tests (which help determine when nerves are damaged) are also being considered.

Existing services such as Xray and Endoscopy (tests to look inside your body usually using a long thin tube with a small camera inside) that are already available at Wisbech will continue.

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Mr Barclay said the community diagnostics centre for Ely will provided the hospital with new and additional capacity in similar services (except Endoscopy) aiming to be introduced in April and October next year.

These services will make such a difference to people living in North East Cambridgeshire, removing the cost, disruption and worry of travel at a time when they are already anxious about potential diagnoses.

Mr Barclay added: “This is a big step forward locally in helping us to clear the backlogs from the Covid pandemic and enable us to treat more people locally without long journey times to Addenbrookes and elsewhere.”

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS) says the new diagnostics centres in Wisbech and Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely will open over the coming year.

Jan Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System said “We’re excited to develop these new Community Diagnostic Centres that provide checks, scans, and tests right in the heart of our local communities.

“It’s another important part of our approach to improve people’s access to services nearer to where they live.

“The new diagnostics centres are expected to deliver an extra 120,000 checks, scans and tests appointments within 2023/2024, and a further 160,000 expected within 2024/2025.”

The first phase of the development will see the introduction of mobile units at North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech that will be in place by the winter, with the Wisbech Diagnostics Centre set to be fully operational by Spring 2023.   The East Cambridgeshire Diagnostics Centre at Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely is expected to launch by Summer 2023. 

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