Community Diagnostic Hubs in London: Deliberation report.

Community Diagnostic Centres, previously referred to as Community Diagnostic Hubs (CDHs), are a new initiative of the NHS aimed at building capacity for more diagnostic testing in England and relieving pressure on hospitals in relation to diagnostic testing. They are to be multi-diagnostic facilities, separate from acute hospitals and placed in local communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing issues with diagnostic services such as reduced staff capacity, lower attendance and referrals, and infection control measures.

A new report from NHS England, based on a deliberation project delivered by ICHP and Ipsos Mori, presents the findings of patient, public and professional experience and expectations of accessing services and working in CDHs in London.

This report presents the findings from a project designed to explore patient, public and professional experience and expectations of accessing services and working in CDHs in London and to develop design principles that can be taken forward to inform regional planning, local implementation and further engagement activity for the NHS.

Through a series of six workshops and fifteen in-depth interviews with patients and the public, patient advocates, and diagnostic professionals in London, feedback was gathered and design principles for the NHS on the roll-out of CDHs were developed.

In Phase 1, participants were asked for their current views on diagnostic services in London and their feelings about potential new ways of accessing diagnostic services. Staff and patients emphasised the importance of retaining choice of where to work or access services to fit people’s different life situations. Waiting times were seen as more important than travel time, but patient advocates highlighted the potential adverse impacts on disadvantaged groups if CDHs were harder to access than current services.

Phase 2 brought together a smaller cohort from Phase 1 across public/patients, diagnostics staff and advocates to co-create principles for the roll-out of CDHs. Fictional patient personas and expert feedback during and between workshops ensured that these principles were detailed, comprehensive, and feasible. Using the participants’ input and subsequent analysis, we have collated these design principles into the different stages of the patient pathway on the following slides, in addition to some specific suggestions for staff working in CDHs.