New centres planned for three Norfolk hospitals to cut backlogs

An artist's impression of the proposed diagnostics centre at the QEH.

An artist's impression of the proposed diagnostics centre at the QEH. - Credit: LSI Architects

New centres designed to speed up diagnosis of diseases and reduce waiting lists are planned for all three of Norfolk's main hospitals.

Planning applications for a trio of diagnostic assessment centres have been submitted by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group.

These centres will be placed next to each of the county's three main hospitals - the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth in King's Lynn and the James Paget in Gorleston.

The new facilities have been mooted as part of efforts to deal with backlogs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, aiming to ensure people can be diagnosed quicker and waiting lists can be reduced.

Simon Hackwell, director of strategy and major projects at the CCG, said: "If fully approved, the centres would in time provide capacity to support patients and healthcare staff in the rapid diagnosis of disease, with a view to reducing waiting lists, including cancer diagnosis."

Plans for the new centre at the QEH were unveiled in March, with applications now also submitted for the NNUH and the JPH.

Each centre is set to be equipped with state-of-the-art imaging equipment, including MRI and CT scanners, x-rays and ultrasound machines.

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The NNUH centre will be located in Rosalind Franklin Road, on land next to the Quadram Institute.

Papers submitted with the application say the centre would "provide a long-term solution to existing capacity constraints and provide a consistently high-quality level of care".

It will be split across two floors, with the ground floor providing patient services and the first floor used for machinery to support with diagnostics.

The papers add: "The application helps to meet an identified significant requirement for the increase in diagnostic capacity to address the current high demand for imaging, which has far exceeded capacity.

"The demand for imaging has significantly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic following the pause of many imaging appointments to deal with the immediate threat of the pandemic.

"This has exacerbated the demand stream for diagnostics, particularly for cancer patients."

Meanwhile, the James Paget centre will be on hospital land off Jenner Road, while the QEH centre will take up part of its car park.

South Norfolk, West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth councils will consider the applications in due course.