New diagnostics service in Wirral to boost access to care

Patients across Wirral are benefiting from earlier diagnostic testing thanks to national investment in a new service called Clatterbridge Diagnostics.

This is one of the first Community Diagnostic Centres in England that are being established as part of a national programme aimed at increasing diagnostic capacity.

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (CCC) and Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) are working in partnership to deliver the service after being awarded a share of £350m national funding to create one of the 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres planned across England.

Clatterbridge Diagnostics has been set up within our Wirral site (Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Wirral) and will offer an extra service for people referred to Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) for tests, alongside the current diagnostics support at Arrowe Park Hospital.

The service will offer earlier access to diagnostics, reducing the time that patients wait for tests for a wide range of conditions including heart disease, lung conditions and cancer and will therefore provide earlier diagnoses for people in Wirral. Importantly, it has been established in a way that means cancer care on the site will also be enhanced by enabling people to be diagnosed more quickly without affecting waiting times for treatment.

The service will deliver increased testing for MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-Ray, Sleep Apnoea, Blood Tests, Endoscopy, ECHO, ECGs and Respiratory testing.

The partnership approach will also see a new mobile CT scanner placed on WUTH’s Clatterbridge Hospital site to further increase diagnostic testing for patients. Endoscopy testing will be increased on the Arrowe Park Hospital site in the bespoke Endoscopy Unit as part of the project.

The first part of the service started as a pilot in July, receiving radiology patients and was officially named Clatterbridge Diagnostics at the end of October. Since July, this service has seen over 2,000 patients directly benefit from earlier access to diagnostic testing. It is expected that the number of patients using the services will increase rapidly over the next few months.

Wirral resident Ken Dodd was the first patient to attend Clatterbridge Diagnostics and he said: “The service was exceptional. Staff made me feel comfortable from the moment I walked into the building. Everyone made me feel at ease, when I was feeling a bit nervous.”

Linda Williams, Chief Allied Health Professional at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, who has been instrumental in developing the new service, said: “Clatterbridge Diagnostics is a brilliant opportunity to increase capacity so patients can have their diagnostic tests more quickly and receive any follow-up care or treatment that they need. Staff have worked incredibly hard to set it up and we believe it will make a real difference for the people of Wirral.”

Dr Nikki Stevenson, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into the development of Clatterbridge Diagnostics, and we are delighted to see it open. This will allow a number of our patients to have their diagnostic tests away from our busy acute hospital. It will enable earlier diagnosis of a range of conditions because of the increased testing capacity, therefore helping us to improve outcomes for our patients. It’s also part of our long-term strategy to develop the Clatterbridge site as an elective healthcare campus with state-of-the-art facilities.”

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