CDCs: Charity pushing government after liver scan u-turn

Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses.
Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)

A charity boss is "deeply concerned" after the government u-turned on plans for community diagnostic centres.

The government has announced that that community diagnostic centres (CDCs) will be set up across the country, allowing patients to receive scans for potential illnesses in a bid to relieve pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals. However, it has now been revealed that liver scans - which were initially planned for CDCs - may not be included.

Now, the chief executive of the British Liver Trust is urging the government to change their minds.

Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
Community Diagnostic Centres allow patients to be scanned for potential illnesses. (Picture: Adobe Stock)

Pamela Healy OBE said: "The UK is currently facing a liver disease crisis and one in three of us is at risk, and we are deeply concerned about the government backtracking on their early commitment to increase early detection of liver disease.

“While there are currently ten community diagnostic centres offering liver scanning services, there are now indications that the government may not expand this vital initiative any further. This decision undermines our collective efforts to address the liver disease epidemic in the UK. Early detection is crucial in saving lives and reducing the burden on healthcare services. We urge the government to rethink their approach and prioritise the health and wellbeing of our nation.

"We call upon the Health Secretary to reassess the government’s approach and ensure the immediate reinstatement of the original plan to roll out FibroScan services to 100 community diagnostic centres by March 2025. It is vital that the assessment of liver damage is made available as part of routine clinical and community care nationwide if we are to curb the growing liver disease crisis."

Over 11,000 people were admitted to hospital due to liver disease in the south east 2021/22 – the highest number of any region in England. In total, 1,456 people aged under 75 died as a result of liver disease in the south east in 2021 – the second highest number of any region in England.

The original announcement to roll out liver scanning services to 100 CDCs by March 2025 was a ray of hope for early detection and intervention. FibroScan, a non-invasive and painless technology, has proven to be a gamechanger in detecting liver disease at its early stages when treatments and interventions are most effective.

The commitment was previously made both in writing by Health Minister Helen Whateley MP in March 2023 and confirmed by Health Minister Will Quince MP in a Westminster Hall debate on fatty liver disease in June 2023.

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