Just over £9 million will be invested at Montagu Hospital in the coming months, as plans to further expand and enhance the site’s Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) are approved by The National CDC Programme, with support from the South Yorkshire integrated Care Board (ICB).

In 2021, Montagu Hospital, which resides within Mexborough, was selected to host one of a pair of ‘Community Diagnostic Centres’ (CDCs) within South Yorkshire, following a £3 million investment from NHS South Yorkshire, of which Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) received around £230,000 of initial capital funding.

Phase one of the project began in January 2022 when a mobile MRI was placed at Montagu Hospital and this was joined in early February by a CT scanner. Between January and the end of March, around 2,600 patients were seen – work that has helped to reduce the backlog of activity which has accumulated as a result of COVID-19-related restrictions throughout the past two years.

Since that time, the Trust’s Strategy and Improvement team and service leads have been hard at work to develop a new business case to enhance services offered by the CDC as it enters its second phase, with further funding secured as a result.

The CDC will be housed in vacated space within the main area of Montagu Hospital, referred to as the ‘rotunda’, which will be familiar to many who are local to the site. The additional monies will expand diagnostic services, as well as increase staffing for the service, and developments will include:

  • The provision of a new endoscopy suite
  • The creation of ultrasound facilities and related rooms
  • The development of multifunctional clinic rooms which can be used for screening and mobile services
  • Further training facilities to develop workforce for the future.

These facilities will create much-needed capacity for imaging and other diagnostic services and enable patients to get their diagnosis quicker and, it is envisaged, in one place within a community setting.

Colleagues at the Trust also plan to prepare a further business case to procure static CT/MRI facilities on site, which will replace the mobile units which are currently being used. This work will form part of the next phase of the CDC’s development, and the three to five year plan for the project, with an emphasis upon developing ‘hub and spoke’ models in other areas of Doncaster and Bassetlaw, working closely with primary care (services such as GP practices) to develop pathways like cardio-respiratory and lung health within the community.

Dr Tim Noble, Executive Medical Director at DBTH, said: “As a Trust we are delighted to receive this funding, which will do so much good for local people. By investing and further developing the Community Diagnostic Centre in Mexborough, we will be able to increase our overall diagnostic capacity, improving patient experience by providing faster diagnosis and treatment, implementing future pathways of care, as well as training staff to deliver these services in the future.

“Colleagues worked extremely hard to complete the first phase of this project, and our teams have gone above and beyond to secure further funding to ensure that we are on track to deliver the ambitions we laid out when we began this journey – a huge ‘thank you’ to all those involved.”

In 2021, funding was made available as part of a national programme to help the NHS further accelerate diagnostic activity and recover services from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. The scheme was provided with a £350m national pot to create 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres and are envisaged to be a one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests, and, it is hoped, will provide a combined 2.8 million scans in their first full year of operation.

Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of NHS South Yorkshire said: “We’re delighted that the funding for the expansion of the Community Diagnostic Centre at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough has been secured. It is a great example of how working collaboratively across South Yorkshire we can deliver improvements for our patients. Montagu Hospital is ideally located to support people living in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham to access diagnostic services. The range of tests that will be available at Montagu will enable earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for patients, helping to reduce health inequalities in South Yorkshire.”