Three new NHS Community Diagnostic Centres, based in north west London, are part of a national initiative to build additional diagnostic capacity for planned care. These centres are based in the community, or deliberately targeted to improve access to care in areas impacted by increased deprivation. These are separate from urgent and emergency pathways, where tests will continue as present.
The community diagnostic centres aim to improve access and efficiency for patients requiring checks, scans and tests, by providing services at a more convenient location.
The centres aim to reduce waiting times and improve outcomes for patients, by no longer requiring attendance at acute hospital services, if a local centre is more convenient. This is particularly important for patients with cancer, and other serious conditions, where early detection is key.
Patients will still be referred by GPs and primary care providers through their hospital trust. The trusts will arrange for tests to be taken at a local service, if convenient. If there is no suitable community service for the patient, tests will be taken in a hospital.
Community Diagnostic Centres and public health
£1.4 billion in national funding has been allocated by NHS England to develop Community Diagnostic Centres, targeting services to address health inequalities at a community level.
This will improve healthcare for those who most need it and address barriers around access to diagnostic services that may currently result in patients not entering suitable care pathways. This will also support those who experience complications due to late presentation of symptoms and delayed diagnosis.
Community Diagnostic Centres in north west London
Three new Community Diagnostic Centres will operate in north west London, funded by £47.2 million in national investment by NHS England.
These centres will run out of existing NHS sites and have been selected to cater for communities shown to be most impacted by health disparities when accessing healthcare in north west London. This follows significant community engagement across the region.
Together, the new Community Diagnostic Centres will enable an additional 300,000 diagnostic tests to be provided per year in north west London. These centres will be fully integrated into the existing network of diagnostic services across the region.
The three Community Diagnostic Centres are:
The Willesden Community Diagnostic Centre
The centre opened in June 2023, inside the Willesden Centre for Health and Care (NW10 3RY). The centre currently offers blood tests, ultrasound, as well as lung and heart function tests. The centre plans to offer Plain Film X-ray later this year.
The centre is operated by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Find more information on visiting or referring to the Willesden Community Diagnostic Centre online.
Wembley Community Diagnostic Centre
The centre is due to open by December 2023, inside the Wembley Centre for Heath and Care (HA0 4UZ). The centre will provide a complementary range of diagnostic tests to the Willesden Centre, offering both MRI and CT scans.
The centre’s location has been chosen to improve access to diagnostic services for local communities impacted by increased levels of deprivation, primarily in Neasden, Stonebridge, Harlesden, North Hammersmith, Fulham, North Kensington, Queen’s Park and Church Street in North Westminster. The centre will be operated by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Ealing Community Diagnostic Centre
The centre will have a phased opening in early 2024. The centre will be based at the Ealing Hospital site (UB1 3HW), occupying a previously underutilised 2000 square metres of space next to the main hospital. Larger than the Willesden and Wembley centres, it will provide the same range of diagnostic tests as the others combined.
The centre’s location has been chosen to improve access to diagnostic services for local communities impacted by increased levels of deprivation, primarily in Hanwell, Southall and Greenford.
Although based at Ealing Hospital, diagnostic capability will focus on elective care and remain separate from urgent and emergency care. The centre will be run by London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.