A ‘FIRST of its kind’ NHS community diagnostic centre - which opened to ease cancer screening backlogs caused by the pandemic - has treated more than 10,000 people in its first four months, new figures have revealed.

The centre - in the Glass Works - has been in use since mid-April this year, with phlebotomy, ultrasound services, breast screening and bone density scanning available.

A total of 10,615 tests, checks and scans have been delivered at the site, as of August 14, according to Department of Health and Social Care figures which were revealed yesterday.

Barnsley was chosen as one of 92 community diagnostic centres to open as a result of soaring demand for appointments, and the Glass Works was chosen given its central, easy-to-access location.

The facility - which cost just under £3m - was the first of its kind in the country to be sited in a town centre retail and leisure facility.

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The government plans to open 160 similar sites across the country by 2025 given the success.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Since taking on the role, I have been focussed on clearing the Covid backlog and waiting times.

“Community diagnostic centres are a vital part of our plan to transform the way we deliver tests, scans and x-rays and ultimately reduce waiting times for patients.

“Along with speeding up diagnosis times, they will also help tackle health disparities, ensuring that people get treated as quickly as possible no matter where they live.

“In Barnsley, the centre was constructed in the Glass Works shopping centre as part of the town’s urban regeneration project.

“Thanks to its public transport links, patients from more disadvantaged areas have improved access to diagnostic services - including breast screening.

“As part of the selection process, the government worked closely with the NHS and invited bids from various regions.

“Analysis was carried out to determine where they would be most beneficial in reducing waiting lists and tackling health inequalities.”