2020/21 NHS Operational Guidance Highlights Diagnostics
The Operational Guidance published for the NHS over the coming year is intended to guide the health service towards fulfilling the Long Term Plan (LTP). As part of this, diagnostics is specifically mentioned which recognition that they are fundamental to the LTP being achieved.
The guidance states that the immediate focus should be on the diagnostics services that have the largest impact locally on RTT and cancer standards. Systems should, working with and through their Cancer Alliances where appropriate:
o Implement networks for imaging and pathology services
o Understand capacity and demand for both endoscopy and physiological measurement at system level, and close capacity gaps by developing networked provision.
o Take full advanrtage of HEE supported opportunities to increase workforce and support training in diagnostic services that are facing critical workforce constraints.
o Understand the implement best practice models for using the existing workforce differently, for example reporting radiographer.
o Continue to upgrade and replace equipment, including through the additional targeted £200m investment fo imaging announced last year.
NHS England will also be working with local systems to implement the recommendations of Professor Sir Mike Richard’s forthcoming review of diagnostic capacity, including testing new models of provision where waiting time performance, and the consequent impact on emergency elective and cancer performance is most challenged.