There are no formal consultations open at the moment. However please read below for other opportunities for you to have your say, and keep checking back for any updates.
Diagnostic services in Herts and West Essex
We are looking at how we should develop diagnostic services in Hertfordshire and west Essex, which are tests to work out what is causing a person’s illness or symptoms and we want to hear from patients, the general public and NHS staff about your views of diagnostic services.
We would patients to tell us about what went well and if anything didn’t go well when they got an appointment for a planned (‘elective’ test) or an unplanned test (one at A&E, an Urgent Care Centre or a Minor Injuries Service).
Planned or elective tests are those which GPs or an outpatient specialist arrange, in order to investigate a particular health complaint or concern. They’re also used for regular monitoring of an existing health condition. These tests include:
- radiology or imaging (such as x-rays and scans)
- blood tests, urine test and simple biopsies (also known as ‘pathology’)
- endoscopy (using a long, thin tube with a small camera inside to look inside your body)
- electrocardiogram (ECG) used to test how your heart is working
- other less commonly used, or more newly developed, tests and procedures.
Have your say
We would like to know what you think about:
- your experiences of going to NHS diagnostic tests, whether it has been only once or several times in recent years
- any reasons you haven’t gone for a test after receiving an appointment for one, or the things that might put you off from going
- what possible changes we can introduce, such as extra appointment hours, more walk-in diagnostic services, and “one-stop shops” to access more than one service if need be.
You can complete the questionnaire and express an interest in being in a focus group. The deadline for sharing your views is 7 October 2022. By taking part, you will be helping to shape the development of diagnostic services for in Hertfordshire and West Essex over the years to come.
Most planned diagnostic services are provided in hospitals but there are some examples in Hertfordshire and west Essex of services being delivered in community locations:
- In south and west Hertfordshire, adult patients can have an ultrasound scan in a GP surgery or health clinic closer to where they live instead of going to hospital thanks to a community ultrasound service provided by Physiological Measurements Limited (PML) You can find out more on the Physiological Measurements Limited website.
- A community diagnostic centre (CDC) opened last year at the New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where patients can get a range of tests such as x-rays, scans, cardiology and liver function tests. It offers evening and weekend appointments, and regular daytime appointments. The integrated care system will bid for funding for two more community diagnostic centre (CDC) sites in west Essex and west Hertfordshire.
Community diagnostic centres are being set up around the country to provide quicker access to tests, greater convenience to patients, and will offer most elective diagnostic services. More people are being referred to diagnostic tests so having more centres will help to take pressure off hospitals which are still working hard to get back on track following the COVID-19 pandemic. The backlog of diagnostic tests needing to be carried out is bigger than ever before, which is the case in our area and across the country.
The national view of diagnostic services
In 2020 there was a national review about diagnostic services called ‘Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal’. It concluded that there needs to be a major expansion and reform of diagnostic services to help recovery from the pandemic and meet rising need, and recommends things like more online consultations, giving people better access to specialist advice, and easy and safe access to blood tests in the community.