National NHS England Medical Director visits Clatterbridge Community Diagnostic Centre during visit to Cheshire and Merseyside

Posted 27th June 2023

Picture of four people - two women and two men - standing outside Clatterbridge Diagnostics CDC and smiling

NHS England Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis met patients and staff at Clatterbridge Diagnostics, the community diagnostic centre (CDC) on the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral site, during a visit to Cheshire and Merseyside. He was greeted there by local NHS leaders including Liz Bishop, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, and was shown around the community diagnostic centre by its manager Rob Jewsbury.

Prof Powis, who became a household name during the COVID-19 response when he appeared alongside politicians and fellow health leaders on national Coronavirus briefings, was visiting Cheshire and Merseyside to find out how innovations are helping to improve health outcomes for local patients.

Following a visit to Eastham Group Practice, led by NHS England’s Regional Medical Director for Primary Care Dr Paula Cowan, Prof Powis went to the Clatterbridge Health Campus for tours of Clatterbridge Diagnostics and the neighbouring Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre.

Clatterbridge Diagnostics was one of the first community diagnostic centres (CDCs) in England when it opened on the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral site in 2021 as part of a national programme providing faster access to vital health tests and scans. Since then, it has provided around 59,000 additional diagnostic tests for the NHS in Wirral for a wide range of conditions including muscle and joint problems, sleep disturbance, heart conditions, lung conditions and cancer. As a result, local people can get diagnosed more quickly and begin any treatment they need. Clatterbridge Diagnostics CDC is a partnership between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Wirral University Teaching Hospital.

Prof Powis was joined on the visit by local NHS leaders, including NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Chief Executive Graham Urwin, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Chief Executive Liz Bishop and Wirral University Teaching Hospital Chief Executive Janelle Holmes. After being shown around the CDC by centre manager Rob Jewsbury, Prof Powis then visited Cheshire and Merseyside Surgical Centre (also on the Clatterbridge site) before heading to Arrowe Park Hospital to tour the new dialysis unit and the site of the new A&E.

Liz Bishop, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for Diagnostics in Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“We were delighted to welcome Prof Powis to Clatterbridge Diagnostics, which has now delivered more than 59,000 additional tests and scans for the NHS since opening in 2021 as one of the first Community Diagnostic Centres nationally. It’s been a fantastic success and a true partnership between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Wirral University Teaching Hospital that demonstrates how closely different NHS services are working together to help people gets the tests and treatment they need.

"Prof Powis was also very interested in the extensive, highly innovative diagnostics work taking place across Cheshire and Merseyside which is well ahead of many other areas, with our seventh Community Diagnostic Centre about to open, a new system-wide endoscopy staff bank and health partners working together to develop endoscopy hubs.”

Dr Paula Cowan, NHS England’s Regional Medical Director for Primary Care, said: “It was a pleasure to host Prof Powis and to introduce him to not only the members of the practice team, but colleagues from across the Primary Care Network and local Pharmacy to demonstrate new ways of integrated working in General Practice, neighborhood teams and wider Primary Care.”

Janelle Holmes, Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “We were delighted to welcome Prof Powis to our Trust and to showcase the fantastic work happening at our sites, as well as our strong leadership and partnership work in Wirral. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate the innovative projects that are already improving patient care and our exciting future projects that will further benefit the Wirral community.

“We were able, for example, to show how we are making great strides in addressing the elective surgery backlog through the new theatres at Clatterbridge, how we are speeding up access to scans and tests through the Clatterbridge Diagnostics Hub and the real progress on building a new A&E at Arrowe Park for the people of Wirral. All these projects support national NHS priorities in delivering care and making life better for patients.”

Picture caption (l-r): Janelle Holmes (Wirral University Teaching Hospital CEO), Prof Sir Stephen Powis (NHS England Medical Director), Graham Urwin (NHS Cheshire and Merseyside CEO), Liz Bishop (The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre CEO) pictured outside Clatterbridge Diagnostics Community Diagnostic Centre