A MULTI-MILLION pound NHS hub - set up in the town centre to ease a backlog of screening appointments - will be expanded due to its success at treating thousands of patients.

The current diagnostic hub - in the Glass Works - opened in April and provides mammography, ultrasound, X-ray and other scanning facilities.

Its location was chosen due its central, easy-to-get-to location and close links with Barnsley Interchange.

Planning documents state that the current service has proved ‘very successful in providing patients with convenient and direct access to services without travelling to the Barnsley Hospital campus and increase uptake of diagnostic screening’.

Barnsley Hospital have now identified an opportunity to further expand the unit into three further adjacent units to provide CT and MRI scanning facilities.

A planning statement said: ““Following on from the success of phase one, Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust have identified an opportunity to further expand the unit into three further adjacent units and incorporate CT and MRI scanning facilities.

“The Glass Works town centre location is ideal for this use.

“Public transport links are excellent with Barnsley train and bus station just a short walk.

“Car parking provided as part of the Glass Works development is also available for use by visitors to the diagnostic unit.

“The proposal is for internal alteration works to 3 units which will result in no alteration to the external appearance or landscaping of the building. “

Barnsley was chosen as one of 92 community diagnostic centres to open as a result of soaring demand for appointments.

About 15,000 tests, checks and scans have been delivered at the site, according to Department of Health and Social Care figures.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Since taking on the role, I have been focused 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.”