NHS tests and scans will be available at pop-up venues, including four in London, to tackle the backlog caused by the pressures of Covid.
Finchley Memorial Hospital, Queen Mary’s Hospital, Mile End Hospital and Barking Community Hospital are the four London venues that will welcome Londoners for tests and scans.
Elsewhere in the UK, people will be able to access health checks at pop-up venues such as Falmer Stadium, the home of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, and The Glass Works shopping centre in Barnsley.
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(Image: Jacob King/PA Wire)
The £350 million government scheme will carry out a wide range of health checks after referrals from GPs, The Mirrorreports.
All 40 venues will be set up by March 2022 although some are already up and running.
The NHS aims to provide around 2.8 million scans in the first year of operation.
It said the centres will help tackle the number of cancer tests, which in some cases, were severely delayed due to the pandemic.
The number of cancer tests performed has returned to levels seen before March 2020.
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Sites will be open seven days a week and will be NHS staffed, including radiographers and nurses.
It is hoped that doctors will be able to diagnose patients earlier, reduce hospital visits and therefore minimise the risk of Covid transmission, cut down on waiting times, and providing multiple tests at one visit.
An added benefit of multiple tests in one visit is this reduces the number of journeys patients have to make, making it cheaper and more environmentally conscious.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Tackling waiting lists will require new and more innovative ways of delivering the services people need. That is why we’re making it easier and more convenient to get checked.
“Our new Community Diagnostic Centres will bring those crucial tests closer to home including in the communities that need them most.
“They will help enable earlier diagnosis, allowing us to catch cancer and other issues as quickly as possible, and save more lives.”
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Pop-up venues were recommended by Professor Sir Mike Richards, the first NHS national cancer director, who conducted a review of diagnostic services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan last year.
He added: “The pandemic brought into sharper focus the need to overhaul the way we deliver diagnostic services and so I am absolutely delighted to see one of the key recommendations of my report becoming a reality for patients so quickly.
“I have no doubt that many people will benefit from these new NHS Community Diagnostic Centres, bringing together many tests in one convenient place.”
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “NHS staff have continued to provide routine care, throughout the pandemic, alongside treating around 450,000 seriously ill Covid patients in hospital, and the roll-out of these community diagnostic centres will help us to spot problems sooner when they are easier to treat.”
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