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Community Diagnostic Centres

What are diagnostic tests?

Diagnostics are tests or procedures used to identify a patient’s disease or condition. X-rays, blood tests and scans are all types of diagnostics. 

Finding out what is wrong with a patient is vital to treating them. More than 85% of patients who seek NHS care need a diagnostic test or procedure. Getting the right diagnostics quickly can help health professionals diagnosis a patient’s disease or conditional and make sure the right treatment is pursued.


What’s the difference between a diagnostic test and a screening test?

A diagnostic test is requested when a patient has symptoms and more information is needed to determine a diagnosis. 

Screening tests are a way of identifying apparently health people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population. If you have a higher-risk result (a screen positive result) you may be offered diagnostic tests at that point to confirm if you have the condition. 


What is a Community Diagnostic Centre?

Diagnostics can be offered in a number of different health care settings, depending on the type of test and patient needs. Some diagnostics may be done at a GP surgery or local pharmacy. Tests that require specific equipment are often done in a hospital or other health care facility. 

A community diagnostic centre (CDC) is a health facility that is separate from acute hospital services, though it may be located on a hospital site. All CDCs offer a range of diagnostics, though which tests depends on the type/size of the centre. By providing a range of diagnostics, patients can get all the diagnostics tests needed, wherever possible, in a single visit. 


"Community diagnostic centres will deliver additional, digitally connected, diagnostic capacity in england, providing all patients with a co-ordinated set of diagnostic tests in the community, in as few visits as possible, enabling an accurate and fast diagnosis on a range of clinical pathways."

NHS England and NHS Improvement National CDC Programme Vision Statement


How will they benefit patients?

CDCs have six main aims:
They offer the opportunity to transform the patient journey by transforming pathways, ensuring the right tests are delivered, at the right time and in the right place to inform the advice, treatment and support for each patient.