PLANS have been submitted by Barnsley Hospital to change the use of a number of units in the town centre’s Glass Works retail complex into a new diagnostic centre to ease a soaring backlog of cancer screening appointments, the Chronicle can reveal.

The sorely-needed site was first mooted in the summer as council bosses faced a growing list of patients waiting for a diagnosis.

It was announced in October that patients across Barnsley would benefit from the unit - now confirmed to be near the site’s Cheapside entrance - following the receipt of £3m in capital funding secured by South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System.

It’s set to include facilities for ultrasound, X-ray, breast screening, phlebotomy, echocardiography and bone density screening.

In July, a council scrutiny report stated the number of appointments that can be made in one day had reduced due to Covid restrictions and plans for a town centre standalone facility were fast-tracked.

The new centre is hoped to enable people to take tests faster, receive a diagnosis earlier and get onto their treatment journeys sooner.

The units in question are now subject to a planning application to change their use from retail. None of the units are currently in use since the Glass Works’ opening earlier this year.

If plans are approved, 25 new jobs will be made available for Barnsley residents - 22 of which will be full-time and three part-time.

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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.

It’ll be open from 9am to 6pm on Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

Professor Des Breen, medical director for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, 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.”

A report, submitted to the council’s planning board, states that the new centre will provide patents with ‘convenient and direct’ access to services, without the need to travel to the Barnsley Hospital campus.

It also states its introduction will increase the uptake of diagnostic screening.

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

“We have worked very closely with our health and care partners to develop a service model that aims to both improve the experience of our patients and reduce wait times and we are really looking forward to delivering diagnostic services in this fantastic new venue in Barnsley town centre.”

Public consultation ends on January 7.