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£15m Community Diagnostic Centre to open in Workington

A new centre offering MRI, CT and ultrasound scanning for patients across north Cumbria is set to open in Workington town centre.

The £15m Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) has been approved by NHS England and building work will start in March 2023, opening to patients in spring 2024. The Centre will be located next to Allerdale Borough Council’s Innovation Hub which is also under development in Central Way, Workington. GRAHAM has been appointed as the principal construction contractor for the development.

Referrals to diagnostic services in north Cumbria have doubled in comparison to pre-COVID numbers which has led to longer waiting times. North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) has been working hard to reduce waiting times by providing temporary mobile units at its two main hospital sites in Carlisle and Whitehaven. The new CDC provides a more permanent solution separate to the busy main hospitals.

Faster diagnostics is key to diagnosing a range of conditions, including cancer, as early as possible. If a patient requires more than one type of scan, the Centre will aim to provide them in one visit to reduce travelling and waiting times for diagnoses.

Dr Louise Dodgeon, clinical director for Radiology at NCIC, explains:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the funding to build a new Community Diagnostic Centre in Workington.

“We have been working hard to recover from the big impact that COVID-19 had on our waiting lists and we are making good progress. By providing more diagnostics, this will help with quicker diagnoses of a range of conditions.”

Councillor Mike Johnson, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be working with the NHS to bring this excellent new diagnostic centre to Workington. It’s great news for the town and for West Cumbria as a whole. 

“I welcome anything that brings jobs and investment to Allerdale, and which will have a benefit for local businesses too, and the positive impact this will have for patients is immeasurable.” 

Dr Dodgeon added:

“When determining the location for the Centre, we considered population demand and health needs as well as travel distance and access. Workington town centre is the ideal location for the CDC and is accessible via public transport. Being next to Allerdale Borough Council’s Innovation Hub also presents excellent opportunities to work in partnership.

“With the £40m phase two of the redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital underway and the recent opening of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Carlisle, this is another fantastic investment in health services in north Cumbria.”

Dr Neil O'Brien, medical director at the NHS's North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “This additional investment for people living in north Cumbria is great news and another key step forward in our efforts to ensure faster access to tests and quicker diagnosis and treatment for our communities. 

“We have already made good progress across the region to tackle waiting lists and the backlog which has developed from the pandemic. I am pleased to say we are doing better than the national average when it comes to meeting targets for diagnostics which is a huge credit to our teams. But of course there is always more we can do and want to do.

“This new centre will help us drive forward further improvements not only to the time people wait but also their experience of care with a much better environment and new ways of providing care such as offering all tests in one day."

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