Planning approval has been given for a new diagnostic centre adjacent to Yeovil District Hospital (YDH) that will deliver over 70,000 diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments a year. Building work is expected to begin in February and the centre is planned to open in winter 2024.
The modern state-of-the-art, stand-alone centre on the hospital site will benefit patients in Somerset and north west Dorset who will receive quicker diagnostic tests thanks to the additional capacity the centre will provide. Open seven days a week, it will provide radiology, endoscopy, cardiology and audiology diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments.
The Yeovil Diagnostic Centre will be the second stand-alone diagnostic centre in Somerset, and is being developed with InHealth, a specialist provider of diagnostic solutions, and Prime, a specialist health and care property developer. InHealth will provide radiology and endoscopy services. Somerset NHS Foundation Trust will provide all other diagnostic and outpatient services. Prime, the trust’s strategic estates partner, will design and build the centre in partnership with InHealth and the trust.
David Shannon, Director of Strategy and Digital Development for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is very exciting news and gives us the go ahead to begin building work in early 2024. It will be the second community diagnostic centre in Somerset. The Taunton Diagnostic Centre opened in September 2021 and has had a dramatic effect on waiting times for planned diagnostic tests.
“Quick access to diagnostic tests is essential for providing good timely care and this new community diagnostic centre will give patients, particularly in the east of Somerset and west Dorset, quicker access to diagnostic tests that inform their diagnoses and treatment.”
Dr Cen Thomas, a consultant radiologist at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Rapid access to diagnostic tests will help save lives and this new community diagnostic centre for Yeovil and surrounding region will help to achieve this.”
Will Bilbrough, Technical Development Director for Prime, said: “As the trust’s strategic estates partner, Prime is thrilled to reach this significant milestone in the creation of a facility which will improve lives through state-of-the-art diagnostic services. This is the latest in several joint projects which have transformed experiences of health care in east Somerset.
“We now turn our focus, energy and expertise towards the building phase. Over the next 12 months we’ll be utilising modern methods of construction to deliver this much-needed building at pace, ensuring that the trust and the local community can benefit from the centre as soon as possible.”
In addition to the upcoming Yeovil Diagnostic Centre and the Taunton Diagnostic Centre that opened in September 2021, the trust has also opened two ophthalmology diagnostic centres – one in Yeovil town centre and the other on the Blackbrook Business Park in Taunton. Community investigation hubs have also been set up in each of Somerset’s Primary Care Networks.
David Shannon 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.”
Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Somerset, said: “This is a fantastic step forward in the development of this vital centre, which will expand our diagnostic capacity bringing about a step-change in diagnostics for patients in Somerset. We’re already bringing down long waits for patients, but this centre will make a big difference in our ability to diagnose people quickly and get them through to treatment.”