MP for Welwyn Hatfield Grant Shapps recently met with Adam Sewell-Jones, the new CEO of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust to discuss health services in the area.

During the meeting, Mr Shapps was updated on the current status of the Trust with regard to dealing with the current omicron variant of covid, as well as new investments being made in the local Trust to improve the quality of its services.

Key amongst the announced investments Grant and Adam discussed was a new Community Diagnostic Centre will be built in Welwyn Hatfield, one of 40 across the country – providing a one-stop-shop for key testing to boost early diagnoses and speed up and increase referrals.

The Centres will provide a full range of scans and tests to patients to catch illnesses at the earliest signs – increasing NHS capacity and saving lives as the NHS aims to work through the historic elective backlog caused by the pandemic.

Local MP Grant Shapps has welcomed the announcement that the QEII centre in Welwyn Garden City has been selected as one of 40 sites across England for a new Community Diagnostic Centre to be built, with an initial investment of £2.85 million awarded by the Department for Health & Social Care.

The centre will provide services closer to home for people in Welwyn Hatfield to meet rising demand, as part of the Conservative Government’s plan to tackle the NHS backlog and catch health issues quickly.

The QEII’s new Community Diagnostic Centre will achieve earlier diagnoses for patients through easier, faster, and more direct access to the full range of scans and tests needed to understand patients’ symptoms – including breathlessness and cancer symptoms.

The centre will also help reduce the risk of Covid transmission and contribute to the NHS’ net zero efforts by reducing the number of patients journeys required in Welwyn Hatfield through providing multiple scans and tests in a single visit.

Also on the cards for the local health service is a £2.4 million investment to create three new procedure rooms, split between the QEII and Lister hospitals.

The rooms will provide extra capacity for minor procedures, freeing up valuable space in operation theatres- improving theatre productivity and supporting efforts to reduce waiting list.

Adam Sewell-Jones said: “It was great to meet Mr Shapps and to share our plans for services in the area, including investing in the New QEII Hospital and working hard to reduce waiting times.

“Work begins shortly on a new procedure room at the New QEII, which will allow for minor procedures to take place locally. This means we can more effectively use our main theatre space at Lister Hospital to treat people who are waiting for more serious operations.

“We are also ensuring better access to diagnostics at the New QEII, such as MRI, CT, X-rays and ultrasound – seven days a week, and with extended opening hours. This will help us to diagnose conditions more quickly.

“The urgent treatment centre at the New QEII is now closed overnight because there were very low numbers of people needing care in those hours. It remains open and well-used during the day and I urge people to continue to seek treatment there for minor injuries and illnesses.

“I’d like to thank the public for their support for our hardworking staff and the Trust while we continue to work through the effects of the pandemic.”

Mr Shapps said: “We know that many people have not been coming forward for key tests throughout the pandemic, which has contributed to the backlog, and can result in worsening health outcomes.

“The new Community Diagnostic Centre will help deliver better services for people across Welwyn Hatfield. By allowing problems to be detected earlier, better treatment can be given to patients.

“Through investing in early diagnosis and increasing NHS capacity we will be able to treat serious illnesses sooner and save lives – levelling up health outcomes across the country. Alongside these new procedure rooms, things are looking positive for our local health services.”