Views sought: Extension of east London hospitals among proposals for public consultation

File photo dated 20/10/20 of staff on a hospital ward. NHS trusts are struggling to improve performa

Residents in a number of north east London boroughs have until September 13 to submit their views - Credit: PA

Proposed extensions to diagnostic centres in two east London hospitals are among the plans being put to residents as part of a new consultation. 

With NHS North East London expecting to receive £39million over the next three years to build and run Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs), the North East London Health and Care Partnership has set up a public consultation to gather feedback on a range of proposals. 

Residents from Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest will be able to share their views on the plans, with the consultation running until September 13. 

A spokesperson for NHS North East London said: “Community diagnostic centres act as one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests for a range of conditions – enabling people to access these closer to home, rather than travelling to hospital. 

“Health and care organisations have been working together on proposals which would see community diagnostic centres expanded and developed for patients across north east London. 

“Our aim is to increase capacity where it is most needed for a range of vital tests such as x-rays and taking blood samples, which help GPs assess a person’s condition, and to improve access to treatment and outcomes for patients while reducing health inequalities.

"This would in turn boost efficiency, easing pressure on our local hospitals and reducing overall waiting times.” 

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The proposals include plans to extend the sites at Mile End Hospital and Barking Community Hospital, and to look at the costs and benefits of developing others over the next few years. 

These include at the King George Hospital in Ilford and St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub in Havering, plus a site in the west of the area and the Whipps Cross Hospital site in Redbridge. 

The consultation also references potentially developing smaller centres in shopping malls, such as Canary Wharf, Westfield in Stratford and The Liberty in Romford. 

In addition to the new sites, a final proposal is to change the system so hospital consultants spend more of their time with people who have particularly complex conditions, while also giving GPs and their patients greater ability to book tests and view test results. 

Joseph Huang, divisional director for cancer and clinical support at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and community diagnostic centres clinical lead for NHS North East London, said: “Our proposals have been developed and agreed by clinical experts in a range of specialities, 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.” 

Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for adult social care and health integration at Barking and Dagenham Council, said the local authority supports the proposed extension to Barking Community Hospital, noting her campaigning on the council’s behalf for additional health facilities in the borough for years. 

“The CDC will mean that residents can be referred for diagnostic tests within the borough and won't have to travel to Queen's and King George," she said. "This proposal is welcomed and I look forward to residents receiving a much-needed service close to home.” 

Following the consultation, NHS North East London said it will consider the comments before deciding upon a way forward “at speed” to improve patients’ diagnostic experience and increase available tests to tackle waiting lists. 

To take part, visit the consultation page at https://www.eastlondonhcp.nhs.uk/getinvolved/have-your-say-on-developing-community-diagnostic-centres.htm  

There will also be a number of online events held on August 13 at 10am, August 25 at 6pm, and September 7 at 10am. More information is available on the NHS North East London website.