Increased diagnostic tests for non-covid patients in North Somerset

UK Biobank has granted NHS services access to its Bristol facility for diagnostic testing.

UK Biobank has granted NHS services access to its Bristol facility for diagnostic testing. - Credit: UHBW

NHS services across North Somerset will see an increase in the number of diagnostic tests they will be able to carry out for non-Covid patients after being granted access to state-of-the-art facilities for a year.

Biomedical database UK Biobank has provided its Bristol facility to give a 15 per cent increase in testing capacity for the district's NHS services - which comes at a time where a rise in coronavirus cases has exhausted its workload.

The chief executive of the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) believes the partnership will be vital in reducing residents' waiting times for MRI scans.

Surgeon commander Richard Bateman and chief executive Robert Woolley. Picture UHBW

Surgeon commander Richard Bateman and chief executive Robert Woolley. Picture UHBW - Credit: Archant

Robert Woolley said: "This is welcome news and a result of the fantastic collaboration between staff working together for the benefit of the community.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our existing scanning capacity and while we have been working hard to prioritise people most in need, this extra resource will help reduce waiting times for scans."

This added capacity will focus on less complex scanning but includes specialities such as musculoskeletal and neurological scanning.

"We know that early diagnosis is imperative for the successful treatment of many conditions, and therefore continue to remind people that NHS services are available if you have a health concern that you are worried about.”

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No coronavirus patients will be referred to this facility, but the site will continue to operate with strict infection prevention control measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.  

UK Biobank's chief finance officer, Gareth Gregory, said: “We are delighted that our new imaging facility will be used to ease some of the pressures faced by the NHS through this difficult period.

"Our skilled team are eager to help increase scanning capacity to benefit people in the South West of England, who have always supported our research very generously.”

Diagnostic scans will continue at the UHBW site with patients being sent to the Biobank facility depending on their individual needs.

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