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23 April 2020
Partnership established to increase NHS diagnostics capacity in fight against COVID-19

A new partnership between independent sector diagnostics providers and the NHS has been announced today which will increase the supply of state of the art scanners and expert radiographers, playing a key part in the accurate diagnosis of people with suspected Covid-19 infection.

In total the partnership, brokered by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), will see 33 scanners being made available to the NHS, along with 300 radiographers and clinical assistants who will operate the service across the country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If used at full capacity, over 23,500 scans could be conducted each week.

The computerised tomography (CT) scans will form an integral part of the fight against the Covid-19 virus, alongside oral swab tests using RT-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR] test kits. CT scans of the lungs are a reliable way to diagnose Covid-19, and the process is quick. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete, and diagnosis can be immediate depending on image review pathways.

CT scan images are produced as thin ‘slices’ and clearly detail changes within lung tissues, (as opposed to standard chest X-rays, which provide an ‘overview’ picture). These slices give clinicians a clear picture of what is going on inside a patients’ lungs. CT scans are not only a key diagnostic tool, but they can be used to monitor disease progression too.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said: “The independent sector is immensely proud to be partnering with the NHS to provide both scanning facilities and resources to assist on the frontline in managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Alongside scanning facilities, independent diagnostics providers are also ensuring that they are supporting the NHS with expert radiographers specifically trained in CT, to provide the best possible diagnostic care at NHS hospitals during this pandemic. We would like to thank all our colleagues for their hard work and dedication during this challenging time.”

Additional information:

As part of the contract with the NHS, Alliance Medical Limited will be supplying 16 scanners, InHealth 13 scanners and Cobalt Health 4 scanners

This statement was issued by The Independent Healthcare Providers Network – the representative body for independent sector healthcare providers. Our members deliver a very diverse range of services to NHS and private patients including acute care, primary care, community care, clinical home healthcare, diagnostics and dentistry. Follow IHPN on Twitter @IndHealthPN or IHPN’s CEO David Hare on Twitter @dhareuk