Work starts on new £10million Integrated Diagnostic Centre in South Tyneside
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A ground-breaking ceremony at the District Hospital site saw South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS chief executive Ken Bremner MBE and Alliance Medical chief executive Richard Evans officially start the work before handing it over to contractor Brims Construction.
The Sunderland firm won the contract after a competitive tender process and will begin work to create the new £10million facility in the coming weeks.
The centre will include world-class MRI and CT scanning equipment, along with a PET-CT scanner, which will slash the number of patients from the trust who currently have to travel to Newcastle or Middlesbrough if they have suspected cancer.
The building, on the site of the old nurses’ home, will be fully integrated with the trust’s digital patient record system, allowing consultants to view and report images in locations including their own homes, helping to speed up reporting times and lead to treatment starting sooner.
The investment has been made possible thanks to a partnership with Alliance Medical, who have provided mobile diagnostic vans to the trust Foundation Trust for more than ten years and already provide PET-CT scanning across the entire NHS.
“Breaking the first ground is a pivotal stage in our plans to develop an Integrated Diagnostic Centre,” said Ken Bremner.
"This is excellent news for our patients who will be able to access specialist scans much closer to home and have more choice over where they have their treatment.
“Creating this new facility has been a long time in the making and a clear signal thatwe are committed to developing and investing in our South Tyneside site now and in the coming years.
"This is about creating services that are fit for the future and that provide the very best care to the local communities we serve.
The new centrre would make a major conribution to tackling the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he added: “COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on NHS services and many people are still waiting for treatment. While we have made excellent progress in recovering services across the Trust and bringing more people back in for their planned care, we know the Integrated Diagnostic Centre will massively increase our capacity to care for more patients.
“This is a major development for local people and we are of course delighted to have a local contractor working on the project and to be further supporting our local economy.”
Once the centre opens, patients in Sunderland and Durham will still be able to access scans locally at Sunderland Royal Hospital and Durham Treatment Centre, but will have the option of an appointment at South Tyneside.
Richard Wood, Director of Brims Construction said he was delighted to see the project progress and was keen to start work.
“The scheme is very important for Brims Construction," he said.
"We were delighted to be awarded the prestigious project and we look forward to starting on site in the next few weeks.”