Five community diagnostic centres will be opened across the South West to provide additional capacity to meet increasing demand. NHS England was advised by commercial health experts from national law firm Bevan Brittan on the procurement of a community diagnostic partner.

This forms part of the government announcement on 4 August 2023 that thirteen new community diagnostic centres are opening across the country to deliver more than 742,000 additional scans, tests and checks a year.

InHealth, the UK’s largest specialist provider of diagnostic and healthcare solutions, will provide services at the community diagnostic centres located in Bristol, Weston-Super-Mare, Yeovil, Torbay and Bodmin. The centres, with the exception of Yeovil, will be situated away from hospital sites on retail parks or on the high street for ease of access by the public.

Community diagnostic centres are medical facilities where patients can be referred by their GP or an outpatient consultant to undergo a range of non-emergency diagnostic procedures including x-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, endoscopy procedures and ultrasound.

Mobile facilities are now being provided by InHealth at or near the five locations until the permanent community diagnostic centres are established.

NHS England took a strategic approach to increasing capacity, acting on behalf of the six ICB commissioners, to carry out a combined tender to significantly increase capacity – rather than delivering one centre at a time – and to secure best value for taxpayers’ money. As the successful tenderer, InHealth must find sites, equip and commission them and operate the new community diagnostic centres.

A team of seven legal experts from Bevan Brittan advised NHS England on the deal. Partner, Sharon Renouf, led the team. She said: “Medical professionals are using diagnostic tests more than ever before. This surge in demand has coincided with a backlog caused partly by the Covid-19 pandemic where non-urgent cases had to be cancelled. These new community diagnostic centres will add significant extra capacity and mean that patients across the South West will have swifter access to follow up tests.”

Commenting on the complexity of the deal, Sharon Renouf added: “The contracts involved in this deal were very detailed and negotiations took some time because multiple NHS organisations were involved – NHS England and the NHS trusts and integrated care boards for the areas where the new community diagnostic centres will be located. There was also a separate contract to cover the temporary mobile services being provided by InHealth.

“The expertise of our commercial and infrastructure team and their detailed understanding of the healthcare sector means that we are well placed to advise on major healthcare transactions like this.”

Bevan Brittan’s team included Sharon Renouf (Partner), Charlotte Scourfield (Legal Director), Angela Lovett (Senior Associate), Susannah Jury, Laura Cook, Madeline Nankervis and Annie Richardson.

Bevan Brittan has a market leading NHS health and care team which acts for over a third of all NHS organisations.  The team’s experts provide advice on everything from the extraordinary to the mundane including informing decisions around tendering services, advising on procurement strategies for hospital development projects and assisting with asset management and NHS PFI schemes.

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