£15m secured for diagnosis hub at Barking Community Hospital

6:25 PM September 7, 2022

Fifteen million pounds in funding has been secured to build a dedicated Community Diagnostics Centre (CDC) in Barking, kicking off a wider project planned for east London.

The  CDC at Barking Community Hospital will house a range of diagnostic tools, including CT and MRI scans, ultrasounds and blood tests, some of which the hospital has already installed.

Barking and Dagenham patients are set to benefit from reduced waiting times and faster diagnoses, having possibly previously travelled to King George or Queen’s hospitals.

Barking Community Hospital has been boosted by more facilities, including this mobile MRI scanner, which will be moved to the new CDC once it is built

– Credit: Tara Mewawalla

Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “I’m really pleased that the NHS has seen the value in reinvesting into the site. 

“The site itself was a hub for the whole community of Barking and Dagenham for many years, having this diagnostic centre will absolutely help every family in the borough [as] they’ll have it in their local borough rather than [having to] go outside. 

“The diagnostics will help our GPs and be much simpler, quicker and more developed for our community.”

Barking Community Hospital has already used mobile CT and MRI scanners, ultrasound facilities and x-ray machines to complete an additional 30,000 tests and scans this financial year.

CT scanner

The mobile CT scanner will also relocate to the new CDC hub once it has been built, most likely by autumn 2023

– Credit: Tara Mewawalla

Rakhee Jakatia, ultrasound lead at BHRUT, said: “Large populations that we’re serving aren’t from Barking and Dagenham so we offer them appointments at King George Hospital (Ilford) or Queen’s Hospital (Romford).

“That’s a bit far for those who are elderly or have transport needs so this is a much easier route for them. I think the patients have really welcomed it.

“Once the CDC is built, we will have all the diagnostic services within it so it will be a lot nicer. There will be good waiting areas in there so that patients don’t have to move from the main building to the hub.”

cllr and hospital staff around MRI machine

By building a new CDC site, the hospital will be able to separate its acute and elective patients more effectively, increasing the capacity of the hospital to diagnose its patients

– Credit: Tara Mewawalla

Cllr Rodwell added: “The health inequalities that Barking and Dagenham experiences are quite dramatic compared to other boroughs of London. If you go on the district line, from Victoria station to here (Upney station), it’s about a 20-year difference in health quality, mainly in long-term illness or death. 

“That’s why we’ve been pushing for so long for the NHS to invest in Barking and Dagenham.

“Most importantly, on existing sites like Barking Community Hospital, we’ve got better facilities coming which will help the communities that are already here.”

The funding for the new building in Barking Community Hospital is part of a wider project in which the NHS in north east London will receive £39 million to build and run CDCs across its boroughs over the next three years.

The North East London Health and Care Partnership are asking residents for their views on these proposals, with the consultation seeking to find out what is important to residents when accessing health services, such as how to make the environment relaxing and what appointment times residents prefer.

The proposals include plans to develop King George Hospital in Ilford and St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub in Havering, plus a site in the west of the area and the Whipps Cross Hospital site in Redbridge. 

The consultation also references potentially developing smaller centres in shopping malls, such as Canary Wharf, Westfield in Stratford and The Liberty in Romford. 

Michael Hepworth, speciality manager for radiology at BHRUT, said: “One key lesson we’ve learnt from the pandemic is that diagnostics is critical and it gets even more critical depending on your status in London.

“A lot of people in this population are on flexible-type contracts so getting a lot of time off work is quite hard.”

Ann Hepworth, the senior responsible officer for diagnostics at Barking Community Hospital, added: “That’s why it’s really important that we hear from the population about how to make it as convenient as possible in terms of time, access and all that.”

cllr and staff near ct scanner and decorated wall

The hospital hopes the consultation survey will inform it on how to make patients’ experiences accessing and using health services easier

– Credit: Tara Mewawalla

The consultation is open until September 13.

Complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CommunityDiagnostics.


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