North East London NHS might soon offer cancer tests in a shopping centre

The local NHS hopes a new approximately £9million centre will reduce pressure on hospitals

'One-stop-shops' for NHS tests and scans could open in shopping centres in north east London (credit: BHR ICP)
‘One-stop-shops’ for NHS tests and scans could open in shopping centres in north east London (credit: BHR ICP)

Waltham Forest residents might soon be able to get cancer tests, scans and more at a shopping centre, as part of an NHS effort to clear a huge backlog of patients.

The north east London NHS, which covers seven boroughs and the City of London, is currently consulting on plans for a new approximately £9million “one-stop-shop for checks, scans and tests”.

In addition to weighing the “costs, benefits and possibilities” of adding a diagnostic centre to the new Whipps Cross, the NHS is also considering smaller sites in shopping centres.

It is unknown whether The Mall in Walthamstow would be considered as a possible site, although the consultation document suggests Canary Wharf, Westfield Stratford and Liberty Romford.

The NHS states any shopping centre sites “would focus on a smaller range of tests, either as temporary centres to clear the backlog or longer term, perhaps instead of some of the NHS sites”.

The document also states: “At the moment we don’t have the funding to develop more than one additional site (we would have around £9 million) and the workforce required to staff multiple sites may be too costly.

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“However, it is worth us looking at the options, what they would cost, the benefits and what people think.”

Joseph Huang, clinical lead for community diagnostic centres across north east London, said: “The focus of community diagnostic centres would be on providing better, faster access to a range of diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and taking blood samples, which help GPs assess a patient’s condition, particularly for planned surgery.

“This would also help free up capacity in our hospitals for patients with more complex, and often more urgent conditions; reducing overall waiting times for treatment for patients across north east London.

“Our proposals have been developed and agreed by clinical experts in a range of specialties, including cancer, and take account of the feedback we received at workshops and presentations, but we now want to hear from local people and their representatives.

“This includes carers, members of community and voluntary sector organisations, parents and guardians, elderly people, health and social care professionals, regulators and the public. Please take a close look at our proposals and let us know what you think.”

Find out more and share your views before 13th September here.

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