A SOARING backlog of cancer screening appointments will hopefully be eased thanks to the opening of a new diagnostic centre.

Patients across the borough will now benefit from the facility - housed in the new Glass Works development - following confirmation of £3m of capital funding.

The site has been identified for the first year of funding and is set to include ultrasound, X-ray, breast screening, phlebotomy, echocardiography and DEXA bone density scanning.

Cancer theatres were closed, screening appointments were cancelled for six months and life-saving endoscopy procedures were halted during the pandemic - all of which contributed to a huge backlog of appointments.

A scrutiny report in July stated that the number of appointments that can be made in one day had reduced due to Covid restrictions such as social distancing measures - and plans for a town centre specialist standalone facility were subsequently fast-tracked.

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South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System secured the funding for the new centres, and it’s hoped this will enable people to take tests faster, receive a diagnosis earlier and get onto their treatment journeys sooner.

It’s part of a national programme to help the NHS further accelerate diagnostic activity in a bid to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic at a much faster pace.

The Glass Works site will be one of 40 new centres - created from a £350m national pot - and the new ‘one-stop-shops’ will provide a combined total of 2.8 million scans in their first full year of operation.

Professor Des Breen, the medical director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, said: “When people are unwell and experiencing ongoing signs or symptoms, their doctor might request diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out specific conditions or diseases.

“The centre will be in a convenient location, often closer to where people live or easier to get to than larger hospital sites, that will provide diagnostic testing.

“Overall, this is a huge step forward in improving the patient experience in diagnosis, and we’re really excited to get plans underway for these initial sites while also planning more for the region.”

Bob Kirton, the chief delivery officer for Barnsley Hospital, added: “The centre represents a significant advance in how we will deliver diagnostic services for the people of Barnsley.”