Firms are being invited to bid to run 150 new community diagnostic facilities as part of £10bn NHS framework contract which has been advertised by NHS England.
Planning for these new facilities had been underway since before the pandemic, as part of a review conducted by Professor Mike Richards, but reports suggest that the scheme has been increased in size to help cope with the scale of diagnostic working that the NHS is now facing.
The review said community diagnostics hubs should be separate from acute settings, releasing pressure on hospitals and should provide a wide range of services including:
- Imaging capacity: including CT, MRI, ultrasound, plain X-ray;
- Cardiorespiratory capacity: including echocardiography, ECG and rhythm monitoring, spirometry and some lung function tests, support for sleep studies, blood pressure monitoring, oximetry, blood gas analysis;
- Pathology services: including phlebotomy;
- Endoscopy facilities; and
- Consulting and reporting rooms.
The offer to involve private providers was welcomed by the Healthcare Providers Network chief executive David Hare who told the HSJ “a mixed economy” of independent and NHS providers would likely be used for the new community hubs.
Full story in The Lowdown, 9 July 2021