One million checks for cancer, heart and lung disease have been carried out at new diagnostic clinics in football stadiums and shopping centres, the NHS has reported.
In the past year, 92 “one-stop shop” centres offering scans, x-rays and blood tests have been opened in an effort to tackle the Covid care backlog after NHS waiting lists in England soared to a record 6.4 million patients.
The NHS said it will open a further 70 centres, which will operate seven days a week and allow patients to get symptoms checked “on their doorstep” following GP referrals.
The centres are staffed by nurses and radiographers who can carry out a range of diagnostic tests, including cancer scans.
This means patients can get multiple tests in one visit, rather than having to make several different trips to a hospital.
Professor Charles Swanton, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, said the rapid diagnostic clinics were improving access to lifesaving treatment.
Speaking at the world’s largest cancer conference in Chicago, he said: “Individuals with red-flag cancer symptoms — blood in the stool, persistent cough — can bypass the bureaucratic and lengthy standard approaches to getting investigated in hospital.”
However, Swanton warned that without action to address the “chronic shortage” of 110,000 NHS staff, the new centres risked “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by taking doctors and nurses away from hospitals.
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Source: The Times, 6 June 2022