New £24m Community Diagnostic Centre and enhanced primary care facilities in North Bedford set to enhance patient care

Date: 06/03/2024 | Category: General News

Patients, staff and local people are set to benefit from a £24m project that will improve access to healthcare and vital diagnostic tests for the people of Bedford, helping to diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke more quickly.

Building works will begin in late March on the project that includes a community diagnostic centre (CDC) at Gilbert Hitchcock House, on the Bedford Hospital North Wing site, and a primary care hub in the Enhanced Services Centre (ESC), on the Bedford health village site.

The new CDC will transform Gilbert Hitchcock House into a one stop shop for diagnostic tests, checks and scans.

The aim of the new centre is to ensure that patients who need diagnostic tests will be seen sooner and in a vastly improved environment. It will significantly increase testing capacity in Bedford by around 50%, making it quicker and easier for patients to access potentially life-saving tests for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, heart and lung disease.

The building will house therapy services, phlebotomy, and a wide range of diagnostic services including MRI, CT, ultrasound, x-ray and physiological measurement tests (such as ECGs for heart conditions), amongst others. Patients will be able to access these vital tests in a more convenient location, without the need to attend busy hospital sites.

We hope to complete work on the CDC in early 2026.

David Carter, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We welcome this major investment at Bedfordshire Hospitals which will bring crucial tests closer to home and help us improve outcomes for patients with serious conditions, by diagnosing health conditions earlier, faster and more accurately.

“The new facilities will allow patients to access planned diagnostic care in a more convenient location without the need to attend our hospital sites, taking some pressure off our acute hospitals and allowing us to focus resources on more complex cases and urgent and emergency care.”
Construction work on the same health site in North Bedford will also see the development of primary care facilities in the Enhanced Services Centre (ESC). This is part of a £4m investment which will see the co-location of a number of De Parys GP practices and a number of community services.

This will support patients in benefitting from improved access to high-quality primary care services. Building work for this part of the project commenced on 19 February and is due for completion towards the end of 2024.

Felicity Cox, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board commented:

“We are committed to providing quality healthcare facilities and improving access to services. The development of the Bedford health village site demonstrates how partnership working across the wider health and care system delivers significant benefits for our residents.
“The Community Diagnostic Centre in Bedford will significantly increase access to important health tests, focussing on early diagnosis, supporting more people to live in good health for longer.”