Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) have delivered more than seven million tests, checks and scans on NHS patients across the country, helping to speed up diagnoses and treatments.

The milestone comes as figures show diagnostic activity in every month in 2023 was the highest for that month on record, with the government pledging to deliver 17 million tests across CDCs and its other investments in diagnostic capacity by March 2025.

The seven million CDC tests, checks and scans have been delivered by the CDC programme since its inception in July 2021, which is backed by £2.3 billion, constituting the largest cash investment in MRI and CT scanning capacity in the history of the NHS. A total of 155 centres are currently open in England, with the government on track to meet its target to open 160 by March 2025.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Diagnostic Centres are playing a vital role in helping to cut waiting lists by delivering checks and scans to people who need them, helping reduce pressures faced by hospitals across the country. This is a key part of our long term plan to make the NHS faster, simpler and fairer for patients.

“Placing these centres in easy to reach locations, such as shopping centres and near football stadiums means that people can get the support they need more quickly. There are now 155 Community Diagnostic Centres open across the country, which play a crucial role in faster diagnosis for illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.”

CDCs, in settings like shopping centres and university campuses, play a vital role in helping to identify and treat illnesses in quicker time, and closer to home, further helping reduce pressure on hospitals and allow for a speedier diagnosis so patients receive potentially life-saving care sooner.

Patients can be referred to CDCs via their GP, or acute consultant, and healthcare staff use CT scanners, MRI scanners and other new diagnostic equipment to diagnose a range of health conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing death and illness.

Last week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced further investment in the sector, promising 100 new AI-fitted MRI scanners that will help doctors deliver results more quickly and accurately to 130,000 patients every year.

These will be funded through the landmark £4.2 billion Public Sector Productivity Plan, under which the NHS will be given £3.4 billion to double its investment in digital transformation, including and IT upgrades and AI investment.