Councillors in Lincolnshire have voted for Boston to have the new Community Diagnostic Centre.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday were asked to give their opinion on plans from NHS Lincolnshire CCG to open a second centre following the opening of Grantham’s new facility in May.
CDCs are designed to take the pressure off Lincolnshire’s health system by diverting patients away from the main hospital sites and the CCG had three initial locations in sight for the next one – Lincoln, Louth and Boston.
Councillors were told how the CDCs were part of a five-year plan to expand the diagnostic service with hopes that it would offer new roles and development opportunities, deliver health promotion, contribute to NHS Net Zero ambitions.
The hope is that patients referred to the facilities could have co-ordinated tests on the same day, while the facilities would have digital infrastructure to share data.
“We know with a county as large as Lincolnshire, CDCs will provide valuable services to patients without them having to attend main hospital sites, support non-emergency elective pathways and free up capacity at the main hospitals,” said Claire Raybold.
A presentation outlined how Lincoln would have the largest catchment area and support training facilities but would not address areas of highest health inequalities on the East Coast or tackle challenges in access.
Louth and its spokes on the other hand would address the health inequalities and access, but would be limited by capacity and patients unwilling to travel. The CCG also noted that North Lincolnshire CCG may also be looking at Cleethorpes and Grimsby locations.
Boston, like Louth, would address health inequalities said bosses, and it would have better transport links to/from the East of the county than the other two sites. However, it “may” not be able to have an endoscopy room.
Some councillors were in support of Louth, however, the majority voted for Boston.
Councillor Tom Smith felt the CDCs could play a greater role in the health system if they allowed self-referrals, adding: “These should be welcomed but we, as much as we can, should be looking to try and get them to be much more than just a pressure release valve from our main acute hospital sites.”
However, Sarah Brinkworth, from Lincolnshire CCG, said it needed to be taken slowly based on the issues around workforce. “We’ve got to build to get there without tripping ourselves up on the way there.”
During the meeting, bosses admitted they did not have a fully-realised plan for the whole of Lincoln due to the timing of funding applications, and that Grantham would not necessarily have been first choice but, being a Covid green site that it had been in the right place at the right time.
Asked for their “personal” views, all three Lincolnshire CCG representatives said the evidence suggested Boston would be the best location.
However, Claire added: “What I want to see is what patients are telling us, what they think.”
She emphasised, however, no decisions had been made by Lincolnshire CCG itself.