Secretary of State welcomes new Community Diagnostic Centre – improving services for patients in south east London

01 Nov 2023
NHS South East London

NHS England has given formal approval and funding of £9.6m for a second new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) in south east London with a two-way Trust partnership building the Centre and running the service. This approval represents a significant success for partnership working in the Integrated Care System (ICS), with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, Oxleas NHS Trust, the Integrated Care Board, the Acute Provider Collaborative and London Borough of Bexley all working together to achieve this very positive outcome.

Located at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, in Bexley, the new CDC will vastly enhance the diagnostic capability across this area of south east London where patients currently experience some of the lowest imaging rates in the country.

The Rt. Hon. Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on a recent visit to the site, welcomed the new CDC and said, “Patients deserve the highest quality care, and community diagnostic centres have been instrumental in speeding up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease to ensure patients are treated more quickly.”

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, the owner and landlord of the QMS site, will be responsible for managing the construction (build and refurbishment) of the CDC and, once completed, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust will be the operating partner, delivering services for patients in Bexley and across the south east London region.

On completion, it will provide more than 50,000 additional diagnostic tests annually, by increasing existing capacity in phlebotomy, (blood tests), and establishing new capacity for CT, MRI and X-ray diagnostics. This will be delivered across two phases, with phlebotomy services due to start in December 2023 and CT, MRI and X-ray services being operational from March 2025.

Medical director for the NHS in London Chris Streather said, “This new community diagnostic centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital will transform services for local people, dramatically reducing waiting times for a whole host of tests and procedures.

“The opening of this diagnostic centre is a really important milestone on our journey towards increasing the early diagnosis of cancer and improving survival rates.”

Louie French, MP, member for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said, “After two years of hard work and lobbying for this funding, I am absolutely delighted that we have secured a new community diagnostics hub for patients to use at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup.

“I would like to thank everyone at Oxleas and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust for their support and I look forward to continuing working together to deliver a bright future for Queen Mary’s Hospital and local patients.”

Cllr Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said, “I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure this new service at Queen Mary’s for local people. It marks another milestone in our campaign to ensure the Bexley community have access to the health care services they need in the borough. The centre will cut travel and waiting times for our residents, and help them get the treatment they need faster. We’re proud to have played an instrumental role with partners in saving the Queen Mary’s site and securing this centre.”

Ben Travis, Chief Executive, LGT, said, “We’re really delighted to be able to further our commitment to the people of Bexley and support our acute partners in south east London, as the operating partner for this new CDC. It is a much-needed boost for our patients in Bexley and across the region. While we are already providing some services from Queen Mary’s, we know that our Bexley patients in particular need more local access to important diagnostic services that will improve their treatment pathways. We’re looking forward to working closely with Oxleas on the construction phase before we can welcome patients to our new CDC.”

Dr Ify Okocha, Chief Executive for Oxleas, said, “We are delighted that the range of services on offer at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup is continuing to grow and this new development will make it quicker and easier for local people to get important tests. There is a strong commitment to Queen Mary’s being a vibrant hub of health services for local people and the new diagnostic centre will support this even further.”

Andrew Bland, Chief Executive, south east London ICB, said, “The strategic priorities of the South East London Integrated Care Board and System align with those of the national Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) programme and so we are delighted to be able to progress this provision at the Queen Mary Sidcup site. We continue to work as a collaborative system to improve health outcomes for our population, and to address health inequalities – and we are particularly grateful here for the active support of London Borough of Bexley. This new CDC will help us to deliver real benefit for patients across south east London, and so we’re very pleased that NHS England has given us this approval.”

The successful business case for the new CDC was developed by colleagues working together as part of the south east London Acute Provider Collaborative (APC). The APC is a partnership that brings together all of the NHS Trusts which deliver acute hospital services across south east London – Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust – with the collective ambition of ensuring better health for people in South East London and better care for patients.

Fiona Howgego, APC Managing Director, said, “This successful bid – supported by all three Trusts – is a major step forward for south east London as a whole, and another home-grown example of how this collaboration continues to make a positive difference.”

This is the second south east London CDC that Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has been appointed to run. The first, at Eltham Community Hospital, is currently providing phlebotomy, non-obstetric ultrasound, respiratory, and dermoscopy services to local patients and will soon be available to all south east London Trusts to make use of the extra capacity

there. Cardiology services will also come online in Eltham soon – recruitment is underway – and the project will be completed with the installation of CT and MRI and a second x-ray scanner (the existing X-ray provision is being maintained) scheduled for early 2025.