Independent sector in deal with NHS to provide new route for Covid-19 diagnosis

Independent providers have signed a new partnership with the NHS in a bid to step up accurate diagnosis of patients with suspected Covid-19.

Under the deal, which has been brokered by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), 33 state-of-the-art scanners and 300 radiographers and clinical assistants provided by Alliance Medical, InHealth and Cobalt Health will operate services across the country 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The computerised tomography (CT) scans provide a fast and reliable means of diagnosing Covid-19. Scans takes less than 15 minutes to complete, potentially providing immediate diagnosis depending on image review pathways.

If used at full capacity, the new service could provide over 23,500 scans per week and form an integral part of testing capacity alongside oral swab tests using RT-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR] test kits.

CT scan images are produced as thin ‘slices’ and clearly detail changes within lung tissues, providing clinicians with a clear picture of what is going on inside a patient’s lungs. This means that alongside diagnostics, they can also be used to monitor disease progression.

IHPN CEO David Hare 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.’