NHS patients in Somerset and the north west of Dorset will benefit from quicker diagnoses thanks to a new diagnostic centre in Yeovil that is planned to open in winter 2024. It will be the second stand-alone diagnostic centre in the county.
The Yeovil Diagnostic Centre is one of five diagnostic centres that will be developed in the South West announced by NHS England today. The Yeovil Diagnostic Centre will be a modern state-of-the-art stand-alone facility adjacent to Yeovil District Hospital that will provide more than 70,000 diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments a year. Open seven days a week, it will provide radiology, endoscopy, cardiology and audiology diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments.
Dr Daniel Meron, Chief Medical Officer at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be developing this new community diagnostic centre with InHealth, a specialist provider of diagnostic solutions, and Prime, our estates partner.
“Quick access to diagnostic tests is essential for providing good timely care. Since we opened the Taunton Diagnostic Centre in September 2021, waiting lists for some tests for NHS patients in Somerset have fallen dramatically and the Yeovil Diagnostic Centre will enable us to reduce waits even further.”
When the Taunton Diagnostic Centre opened in September 2021, 7,737 Somerset NHS Foundation Trust patients were waiting for a diagnostic test and 45.8% of them were waiting longer than the national 6-week standard. The latest figures, for March 2023, show that the percentage waiting longer than the 6-week standard has fallen to 12.5%.
When the Taunton Diagnostic Centre first opened it provided a range of diagnostic imaging services, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and X-Ray, are provided from the building’s ground floor. Earlier this month, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust expanded the diagnostic centre to also provide echocardiogram and treatment for conditions that affect the joints, bones and muscles, and nerve tissue.
The trust has also opened two ophthalmology diagnostic centres – one in Yeovil town centre and the other on the Blackbrook Business Park in Taunton, and, a year ago, the North Sedgemoor Primary Care Network opened a community investigation hub at Burnham-on-Sea Community Hospital.
Dan said: “All of these facilities expand our diagnostic capacity and mean that patients do not need to go into our busy hospitals for some diagnostic tests, and capacity within our busy hospitals is freed up for patients who require more complex care and those who are in hospital.”
Pending approval from local planners, building for the Yeovil Diagnostic Centre is planned to begin in spring 2024 and the centre will open in winter 2024. InHealth will provide radiology and endoscopy diagnostics and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust will provide all other diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments. Prime, the trust’s strategic estates partner, will design and build the centre in partnership with InHealth and the trust.
Will Bilbrough, Technical Development Director for Prime said: “We are proud to be delivering this purpose-built facility alongside Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, as we understand the enormous impact it will have on patient experience in the region. Prime has a proven track record of developing outstanding buildings at Yeovil District Hospital having successfully delivered the multi-storey car park, and keyworker residential accommodation off Goldcroft in recent years.”
Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Somerset, said: ‘This is about making a step-change in diagnostics for patients in Somerset. We’re already bringing down long waits for patients, following the pandemic, but this will make a big difference in our ability to diagnose people quickly and get them through to treatment.
“It’ll increase our capacity rapidly, and it’s good to see the new centre based in Yeovil in the South Somerset area.”
You can find out more about our plans for the Yeovil Diagnostic Centre and share your feedback, at a drop-in event on Wednesday 16 August from 2 – 7pm, Marian Hall, 10 The Avenue, Yeovil, BA21 4BN. Alternatively plans can be viewed online from 16th August.