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Department for Health and Social Care confirms no ‘full and complete’ community diagnostic centre (CDC) for Bishop’s Stortford despite MP Julie Marson’s claim





The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed to the Indie that Bishop’s Stortford does not have the “full and complete” community diagnostic centre (CDC) trumpeted by the town’s Tory MP.

Julie Marson has been insistent that facilities at Herts and Essex Hospital in Haymeads Lane are a one-stop shop for her constituents, “separate” from new provision planned at St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping.

The Indie has been trying to get to the bottom of what constitutes “full and complete” since December 2022, when the Government announced the “West Essex CDC” was one of three new centres in the East of England region and 19 it was planning to open across the country.

Herts and Essex Community Hospital
Herts and Essex Community Hospital

After speaking to the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT), which is responsible for delivering the improvements, the Indie reported that the Herts and Essex Hospital site would act as a supplementary. Mrs Marson then took to social media to say that the Indie was “misinformed” and should issue a correction.

She insisted: “There will be a new community diagnostic centre (CDC) in Bishop’s Stortford at the Herts and Essex Hospital.

“This centre, or ‘spoke’, in Bishop’s Stortford will be fully operational and will provide hundreds and thousands of scans to people right across our local area. That plan has always been the case.

Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson
Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson

“Its ‘hub’ in Epping will be separate. My announcement is for a full and complete CDC in Bishop’s Stortford.

“Any reports that misconstrue this, including the Bishop’s Stortford Independent’s, are wrong and should be corrected immediately. It is upsetting to see one local newspaper seek to detract and distract from this wonderful news.

“My focus is, and has always been, on securing a fantastic service like this CDC for our community. I am thrilled we will now have this in Bishop’s Stortford and look forward to supporting its full development.”

Mrs Marson accompanied health and secondary care minister Andrew Stephenson last month when he visited the Herts and Essex to learn about new non-obstetric (non-pregnancy) ultrasound services and enhanced X-ray room provided by the PAHT as part of the CDC programme.

Health and secondary care minister Andrew Stephenson and MP Julie Marson review new ultrasound and revamped X-ray services at the Herts and Essex Hospital
Health and secondary care minister Andrew Stephenson and MP Julie Marson review new ultrasound and revamped X-ray services at the Herts and Essex Hospital

The trust is planning a building programme at St Margaret’s to accommodate two additional computerised tomography (CT) scanners and a relocated MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner – both of which are unavailable at the Herts and Essex.

Epping will also have new ultrasound, cardiology and respiratory equipment, extended hours for X-rays and the recruitment of more phlebotomists to ramp up the number of blood tests that can be carried out. It is hoped the new centre will open next summer.

The DHSC defines three CDC models: standard, large and hub-and-spoke. The standard model provides the minimum diagnostic tests (CT, MRI, ultrasound and plain X-ray) excluding endoscopy and any other diagnostic test of local priority.

Artist's impression of the new West Essex CDC at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping
Artist's impression of the new West Essex CDC at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping

The large model offers all minimum services and endoscopy, and potentially provides some of the optional components in the diagnostic pathway, such as consultation.

The hub-and-spoke model is a central hub that must include all minimum diagnostic tests. CDC ‘spokes’ provide further capacity to ‘hubs’ for specific tests through a satellite location, mobile unit or pop-up.

When challenged by the Indie about the status of services at the Herts and Essex, a spokesman for the DHSC took more than two months to issue a clarification. A previous inquiry was ignored for 10 months.

He said: “The definition for a spoke CDC recognised both by the department and in the NHS England CDC policy guidance is that it must offer additional diagnostic services to what is offered at the hub site, including at least one imaging service. There is no requirement for a spoke model CDC to offer MRI or CT scans. Standard model CDCs (that is, not spoke models) should offer MRI and CT capacity.

“The Bishop’s Stortford ‘spoke’ site provides a non-obstetric ultrasound service, which now offers extended hours and weekend service through the CDC.

Work to improve X-ray facilities at the Herts and Essex Hospital took place last year
Work to improve X-ray facilities at the Herts and Essex Hospital took place last year

“The CDC programme has also enabled a refurbishment of the X-ray facilities at the site, which opened in February, and again will be available for extended hours and over weekends. From June, CDC funding will also enable extended hours and weekend provision of audiology services at the site.”

The Indie asked why the DHSC was “double-counting” by listing both the limited services at Herts and Essex and facilities yet to be built at St Margaret’s as “open CDCs”.

The spokesman said: “The ‘hub’ CDC, West Essex CDC, located at St Margaret’s Community Hospital in Epping, is in the process of being built. However, CDC services are being delivered through existing facilities at the site via extended hours of operation and a weekend service, which launched in September 2023. The services being delivered are MRI, plain film and a non-obstetric ultrasound service.

“Both the department and NHS England have been consistent in counting CDCs as open when they are using national CDC revenue to fund additional diagnostic activity – in some cases this will be activity delivered by temporary facilities at or near the final location while it is constructed.

“The department recognises both the hub CDC and associated spokes as individual CDCs. The department has been consistent in this approach.”

The Indie has repeatedly asked Mrs Marson to explain why she promised a “full and complete” CDC for Bishop’s Stortford rather than supplementary services for the main facility at Epping, but she has never responded.



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