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20 Dec 2021

Government to inject £250 million in NHS technology to modernise diagnostics

Seamus Daley-Dee

Here at Medical Imaging Convention we recognise that the NHS and healthcare services across the UK have been running at full capacity with many new issues arising due to the impact of COVID-19. Waiting lists are at an all-time high and the NHS is in desperate need of modernising, to be sufficient at tackling today’s issues.  

As of November 2021, the government announced it will inject nearly £250 million to digitise diagnostics care across the NHS, following the £2.3 billion investment previously announced at the latest Spending Review and additionally supported by Sir Mike Richard’s independent review of NHS diagnostics.  

Digitising diagnostics across our health services will help to deliver more diagnostic tests, checks and scans to help provide faster diagnosis of a health condition, earlier treatment and reduce waiting lists.  

We want clinicians, nurses and doctors to be able to see more patients and reduce the administrative burden on their day-to-day. For imaging specialists, as an example, the extra funding will allow them to review high-resolution images remotely without needing to be in an imaging lab, 24 hours a day.  

The funding will also help cut inappropriate requests made to radiology departments as GPs and clinicians will be able to choose the most suitable scan for their patients based on the patient’s symptoms and medical history. Far too often patients can be over-diagnosed through several checks and scans so the extra funding will help make these services more efficient. 

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said at the time of additional funding announcement: “Today’s multi-million pound investment will play a big role in levelling up diagnostics services across the country so patients can get faster results and healthcare professionals can get their job done more easily, reducing unnecessary administrative burden and making every taxpayer’s pound count. Getting a faster diagnosis for a health condition is the first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on, and our funding will help ensure our NHS has access to the latest digital technology to drive up efficiency.” 

As part of the additional funding, 100 new community diagnostic centres across England will be introduced over the next 3 years. GPs will be able to refer their patients to these new one-stop centres to access life-saving checks, scans and tests more quickly, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment. These centres will be staffed 7 days a week with a team of nurses and radiographers. 

Medical Imaging Convention will be keeping a keen eye on the developments that will take place due to the additional funding. We believe improving our diagnostic services will help the NHS and the staff that work within it to deliver better service delivery and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.   

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