Islanders will have better access to tests and treatment thanks to a new £10m Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at St Mary’s Hospital.

The new centre will significantly expand diagnostic capacity on the Island meaning faster access and earlier diagnosis, improving outcomes for people with serious long term health conditions, such as cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

It will be co-located with the outpatient department meaning that we will be able to offer more one stop services booking tests and consultations at the same time. Islanders will wait less time for tests and procedures that help diagnose conditions and lead to more comprehensive treatment plans, this will reduce the number of times people will have to come to the hospital.

NHS England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board have approved the business case that will see the new £10m diagnostic centre open in mid-2024.

Joe Smyth, Chief Operating Officer, Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “This is fantastic news for our community. The latest investment into our Island’s NHS services will mean faster access to tests that can detect serious illness allowing treatment / recovery plans to commence as soon as possible.

“We want to get the most out of this centre and use it to provide opportunities for people to explore careers in healthcare.  We are committed to working with the Local Authority and other healthcare partners to encourage young people to take up roles and make the island more self-sufficient in care delivery.”

Amanda Shaw Associate Director of Transformation, Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “We are looking at smarter ways of working and investing in our staff. There will be training provided through new and innovative programmes that will ensure staff have the skills they need to care for our Island community.

“With the new CDC our ambition is to be proactive in the early detection of disease, reducing the number of patients who may have gone on to need acute care later in life. We are planning to open the Community Diagnostic Centre mid 2024, giving people greater access to the diagnostics they need.”

The CDC will provide GPs and outpatients greater access to a wider range of local diagnostic testing including cardiac and respiratory physiology measurements and bone densitometry alongside CT, ultrasound, general imaging, and a small procedures room for undertaking same day biopsies and cystoscopies. New artificial intelligence endoscopy scopes have already been procured and will improve detection of polyps and cancer as well increasing access to testing later this year.

Sleep studies, spirometry, and lung function testing along with echo cardiograph and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring will also help to identify early warning signs for illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks.

Amanda continued: “The ambition of the future is for us to provide local NHS care that will mean Islanders can have a diagnostic procedure, their results and if needed a treatment plan provided to them all on the same day.”

Dr Michele Legg, Island GP and Clinical Director for Isle of Wight at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said:

“I’m really pleased to see these plans progressing for the Island’s population. People can expect to see speedier access to vital tests and scans leading to faster diagnosis, ensuring patients receive the care they need sooner.

“This is part of a wide range of measures we’re putting in place to help ease pressure on our hospital whilst also offering important training and development opportunities for our staff.”

Bob Seely MP said: “I am delighted government has committed £10 million for a Community Diagnostic Centre on the Island.

“This centre will provide Islanders with quicker access to tests, scans and checks helping to reduce waiting lists and enabling quicker diagnoses which ultimately, will save more lives.

“This investment is in addition to the £48 million government has already committed to improving healthcare services for Islanders – which includes the improvement works currently underway at St Mary’s – all part of getting a better deal for the Island.”