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More than two million tests for conditions such as cancer plus heart and lung disease have been run since the clinics began in 2021. The community diagnostic centres (CDCs) opened in sites such as stadiums and shopping centres.
It is hoped the hubs will ease the burden on hospitals and cut pandemic backlogs by speeding up diagnoses. The centres offer MRI, X-ray and ultrasound scans plus blood tests and heart monitoring.
The Health Secretary said: “In years to come, people might get to know their CDC even better than their local hospital.”
Ms Coffey approved 10 further CDCs at the opening of one in Wood Green, north London, yesterday. Sites include Burnley, the Isle of Wight and Medway in Kent.
She told how NHS testing saved her life three years ago when she had an ear infection that turned into potentially fatal meningitis.
Ms Coffey added: “We’re getting on with the job of tackling the issues that affect people most – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.”
Once referred by a GP, pharmacist or hospital, patients can have symptoms checked at a CDC. Ministers have prioritised having up to 160 centres in England by 2025 – there are 92 in operation.
Others will be in Warrington, Cheshire, Dudley in the West Midlands, Newmarket in Suffolk and Rotherham in South Yorkshire.
NHS England says a record 6.84 million people were queuing for non-urgent treatment in July.
Vin Diwakar, NHS medical director for transformation, said: “It is great news that more of these centres have been approved to provide checks and scans… making services more convenient.”
David Thomas, Alzheimer’s Research UK head of policy, welcomed the move but warned that more direct action is needed for early and accurate diagnoses of dementia.
He said: “We need to see targeted investment in NHS diagnostics. Too many people are facing a two-year wait between referral and diagnosis.”
He added: “Without earlier and more accurate diagnoses, the NHS won’t be able to plan for future demand.”
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