A new diagnostic centre, ​hosted by the Royal Free London, has opened at Finchley Memorial Hospital (FMH). 

The FMH hub, which is one of 40 community diagnostic centres opening in England, will boost diagnostic capacity across north central London and provide patients with quicker and more convenient access to important tests for conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease.  

Services at the FMH centre in Barnet will include CT, MRI, ultrasound and ophthalmology scans, additional phlebotomy (blood tests), cardiology and respiratory tests and vascular thermography. The services will go live over the course of this year.

The hub is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once fully operational, it is expected to see 1,200 patients per week, helping to ensure they receive a diagnosis and any required treatment more quickly.

Alan McGlennan, chief executive, medical director and chief clinical information officer of Chase Farm Hospital and group clinical services, said: “We’re delighted to have opened this vital diagnostic service in the heart of north London. Since it opened, more than 1,500 tests have already been carried out, allowing patients to receive a diagnosis and get the treatment they need much sooner.

“Locating this hub in the community means local residents can access the service more easily and it helps alleviate the pressure on acute hospitals.” 

Alex Pinches, director of operations for RFL group clinical services and senior responsible owner for the project, added: “This new centre allows us to offer key diagnostic services across north London. It has been truly inspiring to see how NHS partners in North Central London have worked collaboratively to ensure we can provide this service, which will help deliver treatments to our patients sooner. We are equally excited about expanding this service next year.”

The hub is part of a national NHS England and NHS Improvement programme to help accelerate recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine diagnostic testing.

The centres are one of the recommendations from Professor Sir Mike Richards, the first NHS national cancer director, who conducted a review of diagnostic services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published last year.