Diagnosis optimisation

The TCST diagnostics optimisation programme was set up in 2016 to help radiology and endoscopy teams improve their capacity utilisation, scheduling and patient flow.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we began to collaborate much more closely with the newly established NHS England London region diagnostics recovery and renewal programme and aligned our our programme to support cancer diagnostics to deliver on the ambitions of this.

The Recovery and Renewal programme has a focus on earlier detection of cancer, and we are working jointly on expanding the provision of Direct Access imaging for GPs.  We are working to restore meaningful, effective access to all the tests required by NG12 following the pandemic and to provide other options for GPs to support patients with low but not no risk of cancer.

We also support the NHS England specialised commissioning team in optimising the pathway for patients with suspected sarcoma, supporting them to get diagnosed earlier and closer to home.  This includes agreeing a specification for Local Diagnostic Centres that will carry out an initial suite of tests as satellite services to the two tertiary centres – the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust for all bone sarcomas as well as all limb, trunk and abdominal wall soft tissue sarcomas; and the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for all non-limb/trunk soft tissue sarcomas. We are also developing education materials for all sonographers who do soft tissue scans to support them in diagnosing or ruling out cancer.

We have also stood up the London Imaging and Endoscopy Academies, a collaboration between NHS England, Health Education England and London Integrated Care Systems to support the delivery of training for diagnostic teams across London. This has included running projects to upskill staff and develop new managers in imaging and support the development of new staff in all imaging disciplines including sonography and nuclear medicine.


Daniel Mercer, Cancer Diagnostics Support Manager, daniel.mercer@nhs.net