Thursday 7th October 2021
Heart Valve Voice welcomes the announcement from NHS England regarding the creation of 40 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDC). Heart Valve Voice has advocated the delivery of these services since Professor Sir Mike Richards released his report, and are firm believers that they will improve cardiovascular services immeasurably.
Millions of patients will benefit from earlier diagnostic tests closer to home thanks to these Community Diagnostic Centres. They represent a new ‘one-stop-shops’ for checks, scans and tests and will provide around 2.8 million scans in the first full year of operation. The centres will begin providing services over the next six months, with some already up and running, and will be fully operational by March 2022.
The objectives of the programme will be:
- Earlier diagnoses for patients through easier, faster, and more direct access to the full range of diagnostic tests needed to understand patients’ symptoms including breathlessness, cancer, ophthalmology.
- A reduction in hospital visits which will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- A reduction in waits by diverting patients away from hospitals, allowing them to treat urgent patients, whilst the Community Diagnostic Centres focus on tackling the backlog.
- A contribution to the NHS’ net-zero ambitions by providing multiple tests at one visit, reducing the number of patient journeys and helping to cut carbon emissions and air pollution.
Heart Valve Voice CEO, Wil Woan, said; “With these centres, Primary Care will be able to refer patients to a centre so they can access life-saving checks closer to home and be diagnosed for a range of conditions, rather than travelling to a hospital. This will be more convenient for patients, more efficient and more resilient to the risk of cancelled tests in hospitals due to COVID-19. The centres will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff, including nurses and radiographers, and open 7 days a week.
For heart valve disease patients, this means direct access to a range of diagnostic services, and will lead to a more streamlined service which delivers earlier diagnosis, something which is crucial to delivering good outcomes.”
These CDC’s were discussed at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease evidence sessions earlier this year and were one of the key recommendations into their report into the cardiovascular pathway. They represent the start of a new style of service, taking healthcare to the community, reducing footfall in hospitals, reducing strain on GP’s and streamlining referrals, and empowering patients with direct access to crucial diagnostic services.
On behalf of Heart Valve Voice and our valve disease patient community, we would like to thank Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard, Clinical Director for Heart Disease, Professor Nick Linker, his predecessor in that role, Professor Huon Gray, and the senior clinicians and policymakers who have helped deliver these centres. Their hard work will lead to a better future for heart valve disease patients.
National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, Professor Nick Linker, said “I’m pleased to see our plans to launch 40 Community Diagnostic Centres across England released. This will enhance services, with a one-stop shop for diagnostics leading to earlier detection and diagnosis of conditions such as heart valve disease. They will also empower local services to offer a range of diagnostic tests for patients with symptoms such as breathlessness, easier, faster and with more direct access.
I appreciate the work Heart Valve Voice and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease have put in to champion the recommendations in Professor Sir Mike Richards Report, and their continued commitment to supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.”