THE NHS’s chief executive was given a tour around Barnsley’s ground-breaking community diagnostic centre – which has rapidly reduced waiting times since its opening – during a visit to the town.

The centre, based in the Glass Works, was officially opened in April 2022 in a bid to cut the hospital waiting times at the Gawber Road site.

Since then, bone density screening waiting times have dropped from six weeks to one week, ultrasound screening times have dropped from six weeks to two – and breast screening uptake rates have increased from 50 per cent to 72 per cent.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard was given a tour of the site by Barnsley Hospital’s chief executive Dr Richard Jenkins and South Yorkshire ICB’s head Gavin Boyle.

Ms Pritchard said: “It was amazing to visit Barnsley and see first-hand the huge difference that the community diagnostic centre is having on the lives of local people – by bringing health checks to the high street, staff there working with their local partners, are ensuring services are as convenient as possible for patients as well as successfully driving down waiting times.

“It is absolutely first class and exactly what we want to see happening for patients right across the county.”

Dr Jenkins added: “We were delighted to welcome Amanda – the diagnostic hub was the first of its kind in the UK and has enjoyed a hugely successful first year delivering thousands of tests, checks and scans.

“Not only has it increased capacity of diagnostic services to help reduce waiting times, it has also improved access to diagnostic services to help early detection of diseases.”