One of the current priorities of the NHS is to drive down waiting times, and one of the key elements in doing this is the introduction of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs).

CDCs are facilities dedicated to getting people fast and local access to diagnostic tests such as scans and blood tests, ensuring quicker diagnosis and earlier access to treatment, resulting in better patient outcomes and less pressure on NHS services.

It’s also more convenient for patients, meaning they can have access to tests nearer to home, rather than having to travel to a busy main hospital site, and with less risk of cancellations.

The nationwide CDC programme was announced in 2021, and since then the Shared Agenda team have been supporting Humber and North Yorkshire ICB with programme management and business case writing support. This included gathering and analysing data to determine where CDCs should be sited to best meet the needs of the local population, which services should be offered where, and writing the business cases to secure the funding to deliver the facilities.

One of the chosen locations was Askham Bar, a site on the outskirts of York, operated by York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, provided in partnership with Nimbuscare.

To deliver the CDC on this site, they needed a special pad constructing to allow mobile MRI and CT scanners to operate on site.

The Shared Agenda team worked in partnership with York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nimbuscare to project manage the construction of the pad.

Although at first glance it may sound simple, the logistics of the project were very complex, with the base for the scanners needing to meet very precise specifications.

For example, to avoid interference, the scanners needed to be at least a certain distance from any nearby train lines, and it was vital that the site had new secure data connections set up, enabling images from the scans to be transferred directly to off-site specialists who could read and analyse them, getting the results to the patients as fast as possible.

The Shared Agenda team managed design of the pad, planning permissions, surveys, contract administration and co-ordinated medical visits, as well as arranging new power, water, drainage and data connections and managing almost 20 different stakeholders who were involved in the project.

The logistics around access to the site were also difficult, with highway improvement works on local roads meaning precise timing was necessary around large plant deliveries.

It was also essential to futureproof the site, ensuring it has the connections capable of operating different scanners in years to come.

Sharon Allmark, Senior Project Manager at Nimbuscare, said:

“Having Shared Agenda supporting the development of the site to allow the new MRI/scanner at Askham Bar was a great addition to the team. The MRI/CT scanner located at Askham Bar is a significant additional benefit for the local population of York.

“The Shared Agenda team were excellent at communicating throughout the project, making weekly visits to the site to check everything was on track, and ensuring the many stakeholders involved were always up-to-date on progress and their responsibilities.”

Shared Agenda’s Cameron Wood, who helped project manage the scheme, said:

“After having worked on the original programme to plan where CDCs should be located in the region, it’s been really rewarding to then be able to manage delivery of the facilities the CDC needs to provide scans.

“Our work with NHS organisations across the country has shown us that reducing waiting times is one of their major challenges, so anything that can help patients be seen quicker will be of huge benefit to the community, as well as to individuals.”

Once fully operational, around 70,000 additional diagnostic appointments will be available to patients, including a planned 9,000 CT and MRI scans in the first year.

Find out more about our work on the original CDC strategy.