The project provides a state-of-the-art diagnostics centre which will serve patients from across Somerset and the surrounding areas.
The centre will give patients increased access to diagnostic tests which inform their treatment and enable them to have their diagnostic tests in a stand-along modern facility away from a busy hospital.
The Rutherford Diagnostic Centre Somerset in Taunton is the first community diagnostics centre of its kind in England – run by Rutherford Diagnostics Limited, a subsidiary of Rutherford Health PLC in partnership with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
Rutherford Diagnostics Limited will provide diagnostic services from the Rutherford Diagnostic Centre Somerset which offers Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT), Ultrasound and X-Ray on equipment provided by Rutherford’s technology partner, Philips.
The project successfully repurposed a former fire control centre, making excellent use of a building that had been left empty for a period of time. It would have been easier to build a new building from scratch, but by repurposing an existing building it effectively ‘recycles’ a redundant space.
The centre was officially opened by the renowned cancer specialist, Professor Sir Mike Richards CBE, former National Cancer Director in the Department of Health and author of an independent review of NHS diagnostics capacity. The report, Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal, says major expansion and reform of diagnostic services is needed to facilitate recovery from the pandemic and to meet rising demand. One of the report’s key recommendations is the development of community diagnostic hubs away from acute hospital sites.
This centre is the first of its kind and it was delivered two weeks early and to budget and sets a precedence for diagnostic centres of this kind. The client plans to establish another four community diagnostic centres around the country to help meet the need for wider diagnostic provision. In this way, they can continue to support the NHS to manage the growing backlog caused by the pandemic and track down the missing patients that need treatment urgently.
The additional capacity at the Rutherford Diagnostic Centre Somerset enables Somerset NHS Foundation Trust to increase its CT capacity by a quarter immediately and its MRI capacity by a quarter within three months and scan a larger proportion of patients who require complex scanning. NHS organisations in Somerset are planning to provide 99% of patients with diagnostic imaging within the 6 week national standard by March 2022 subject to waiting lists remaining steady and the NHS will monitor its progress closely.
- Repurposing redundant building to complex facility providing unique services
- 2 weeks early despite pandemic
- First of its kind in the UK