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Planning permission is next big step for £14m community diagnostic centre at Epping





The delivery of a £14m community diagnostic centre (CDC) at Epping is a step closer with the submission of a planning application.

The facility will improve access to MRI and CT scanning for patients from Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and Stansted and other residents of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) catchment area.

Subject to permission from Epping Forest District Council, the centre at St Margaret’s Hospital is expected to be operational in summer 2025.

Artist's impression of new CDC at Epping
Artist's impression of new CDC at Epping

It will provide extended opening times and additional equipment including:

Two additional computerised tomography (CT) scanners;

Extended hours for X-rays;

New ultrasound equipment;

New cardiology equipment;

New respiratory equipment;

Relocated MRI scanner.

More phlebotomists will also be recruited to increase blood testing.

Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estates at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estates at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estates at PAHT, said: “We are pleased to have reached this significant milestone by submitting our planning application for the Community Diagnostic Centre at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping.

“I am so excited that we continue to make such good progress with the development of outstanding facilities for the communities we serve. This is a big step towards our ambition for modern, integrated, and outstanding healthcare for our community.

"This is a significant investment in local services that will mean quicker and more local access to diagnostic tests for our patients.”

As well as the creation of a new radiology department, the proposals for the Epping CDC at Spencer Close also include the refurbishment of an existing vacant building to accommodate blood tests, outpatient services, main reception and staff support and changing facilities.

Artist's impression of new CDC at Epping
Artist's impression of new CDC at Epping

The CDC project will be completed in three phases, subject to funding, and the first phase - the radiology building - is the main component of the current planning application.

Morgan Sindall will carry out the building and refurbishment work and will use its digital carbon analysis tool CarboniCa during the project to minimise emissions during the work and ensure that it is as sustainable as possible.

The Government announced approval for the West Essex CDC in December 2022.

The CDC site at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping
The CDC site at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping

The testing facilities are a hub and spoke model with the main diagnostic capacity at the hub - St Margaret’s in Epping - and supplementary provision at the spoke - the Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford.

The Haymeads Lane improvements include more cardiology, ultrasound and X-ray capacity.

Work to improve X-ray facilities at the Herts and Essex Hospital
Work to improve X-ray facilities at the Herts and Essex Hospital

Extended hours for non-obstetric (non-pregnancy) ultrasound have begun and more will be provided this year alongside further X-rays.

In December last year, when the Indie again asked for clarification after references to a “full and complete” Bishop’s Stortford CDC, “separate” from Epping’s facilities by Hertford and Stortford's Conservative MP Julie Marson, the Department for Health and Social Care was clear that “all CDC sites are named under their hub location first – which in this case is West Essex CDC, the hub site is St Margaret’s in Epping”.

However, by last month, the line was: “The department recognises both the hub CDC and associated spokes as individual CDCs. The department has been consistent in this approach.”



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