UK football stadia to serve as NHS centers

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NHS test sites to open in stadiums in England Image: Brighton and Hove Albion

The National Health Service (NHS) (UK) tests and scans are to be offered at football stadiums and shopping centers to help deal with the backlog caused by COVID-19.

‘The Guardian’ stated that the health service is launching 40 “one-stop shop” diagnostic centers across England, which will carry out a wide range of health checks after referrals from the general practitioners (GPs).

The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England, and one of the four National Health Service systems in the United Kingdom. It is the second largest single-payer healthcare system in the world after the Brazilian Sistema Único de Saúde.

Some of the sites will be set up in existing buildings, including a repurposed retail outlet in Poole, the 30,666-capacity Falmer Stadium in Brighton, England – the home of the Premier League team Brighton and Hove F.C., and the Glass Works shopping center in Barnsley.

‘The Guardian’ further stated that the scheme, backed by a £350m Government investment, aims to provide about 2.8m scans in the first year of operation.

Hubs will be staffed by teams of professionals including nurses and radiographers and will be open seven days a week.

While the number of cancer tests has returned to levels seen before March 2020, the NHS said the centers will help tackle the backlog that has built up during the pandemic.

It is also hoped the centers will help doctors make earlier diagnoses for patients through more direct access to a full range of diagnostic tests, reduce hospital visits and, therefore, the risk of COVID-19 transmission, cut down waiting times, and help meet emissions targets by providing multiple tests at one visit thereby reducing the number of journeys patients have to make.

The centers will begin providing services over the next six months, with some already up and running, and will be fully operational by March 2022.

Stated the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, “Tackling waiting lists will require new and more innovative ways of delivering the services people need. That is why we’re making it easier and more convenient to get checked.

Added the Health Secretary, “Our new community diagnostic centers will bring those crucial tests closer to home including in the communities that need them most. They will help enable earlier diagnosis, allowing us to catch cancer and other issues as quickly as possible, and save more lives.”

The centers are one of the recommendations from Professor Sir Mike Richards, the first NHS National Cancer Director, who conducted a review of diagnostic services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published last year.

He averred, “The pandemic brought into sharper focus the need to overhaul the way we deliver diagnostic services and so I am absolutely delighted to see one of the key recommendations of my report becoming a reality for patients so quickly. I have no doubt that many people will benefit from these new NHS community diagnostic centers, bringing together many tests in one convenient place.”

Noted Amanda Pritchard, NHS’s Chief Executive, “The NHS staff has continued to provide routine care throughout the pandemic, alongside treating around 450,000 seriously ill COVID patients in hospital, and the rollout of these community diagnostic centers will help us to spot problems sooner, when they are easier to treat.”

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