£4m fund to develop new diagnostic medical tests

Four NHS trusts to form Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives to lead technological improvements

The Government has announced a £4m fund to help develop new diagnostic medical tests.

The money will fund research into the way different diseases are diagnosed, so that patients can access the best available treatments more quickly.

The new Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives will generate evidence that has the potential to improve the way patients are diagnosed and treated, and help the NHS use resources more effectively

The funding is being handed out by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to four NHS organisations - Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Designated as national centres of expertise known as NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives, they will promote research into medical tests used to diagnose conditions such as cancer, liver and respiratory diseases and work with industry so that patients can benefit from advances in technology.

They will be made up of clinicians and other healthcare professionals, specialists from industry, patients, NHS commissioners, and researchers and will investigate a number of clinical areas.

The London trust will be looking at cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases and metabolic medicine, while Leeds will explore liver, musculoskeletal and renal diseases. The Oxford team will be identifying and evaluation diagnostic tests that will bring the latest technology for common diseases like diabetes into primary care settings, and Newcastle will be tasked with testing the effectiveness of new diagnostics tests for cancer, cardiovascular, liver, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases, stroke, genetics, infections, and transplantation.

Announcing the funding, Health Minister, Lord Howe, said: “We know that faster and better diagnosis of diseases can be lifesaving and can ensure that patients get the most appropriate treatments more quickly.

This funding will provide researchers with the support needed to ensure that this country continues to be at the forefront of healthcare research

“The new Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives will generate evidence that has the potential to improve the way patients are diagnosed and treated, and help the NHS use resources more effectively.

“The UK is already a leading force in health research, inventing new technologies to improve the lives and healthcare of patients. This funding will provide researchers with the support needed to ensure that this country continues to be at the forefront of healthcare research.”

Carla Deakin, chairman of the British In-Vitro Diagnostic Association, added: “These groups will play a significant role in helping introduce new and exciting diagnostic tests into the NHS, improving the way patients are diagnosed and treated.”

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