How the Canon Medical Arena will be serving local communities of Sheffield

Increasing the capacity of community healthcare to drive down waiting times and power up the time to treatment is gaining momentum. The growing success of the NHS’ Community Diagnostic Centre strategy is well publicised, giving patients access to planned diagnostic care nearer to home without needing to attend traditional, acute hospital locations. This is helping to shorten waiting lists, reduce the risk of cancellations when urgent hospital cases take priority and ultimately get patients into treatment pathways sooner.

Independent and industry providers are also ramping-up with solutions to support UK healthcare challenges. One such solution is the Medical Diagnostic Centre, at the Canon Medical Arena, on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in Sheffield, which is due to open in the autumn of 2023. Built by Canon Medical Systems UK and installed with state-of-the-art imaging modality equipment, it will be operated by The LivingCare Group, a regulated and proven provider of quality healthcare. Established for 20 years, LivingCare has been delivering locally-led and patient-centric healthcare in Leeds and is expanding its services into Sheffield.

The latest diagnostic equipment and patient care

The Canon Medical Arena will include a leading-edge Medical Diagnostic Centre featuring advanced Artificial Intelligence assisted (Altivity) CT and MRI scanners, ultrasound, digital X-ray, fluoroscopy, consulting rooms, and a minor surgery operating theatre. The Medical Diagnostic Centre will be staffed and operated by LivingCare, providing additional scanning facilities beyond the NHS and for private healthcare providers, for the people of Sheffield.

“We can deliver a wide range of diagnostic services in the community,” states Helen White, Managing Director at The LivingCare Group. “This is anything that doesn’t require a stay in a hospital bed or a surgical intervention. This includes all types of diagnostic imaging scanning, through to specialist services such as pain clinics, and Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT).”

LivingCare will support a wide range of patient cohorts. This includes sporting organisations such as football, boxing, and basketball clubs. Community patient care doesn’t stop there, with the Medical Diagnostic Centre supporting injured sporting individuals referred through private healthcare, and of course, NHS patient referrals.

“It is our overriding aim to align our flexibility to the needs of the area, and to provide support for the NHS,” comments Jayne Pears, Head of Imaging at LivingCare. “At present, there is a lot of dialogue regarding respiratory studies. We can offer chest X-rays, CT scans, spirometry screening, and even provide blood testing. The arena is a one-stop shop for the community, with all the modalities and testing capabilities under one roof.”

Jayne continues, “We are committed to helping to reduce the waiting lists and bottlenecks from capacity pressures in the NHS by opening our doors in Sheffield. The entire team is looking forward to working with the innovative diagnostic equipment, which will help deliver a higher quality image for clinical confidence and enable us to spend more quality time with the patients.”

Vanessa Ellis, MRI Modality Manager at Canon Medical UK concludes, “Introducing the latest imaging technologies into diagnostic departments or centres has a huge positive impact on staff morale. Protocols and usability are improved and the burden on operators is relieved; cascading onto the time and quality of patient care. Our range of AI-assisted MRI systems has been designed to meet the needs of departments and patients, providing the people of Sheffield and LivingCare the very best in diagnostic imaging.”

Eliminating ‘no shows’ by offering a friendly, community focused centre

A growing area of concern in healthcare is the number of ‘no shows’ or ‘did not attend’ hospital appointments. This is estimated to be hundreds of thousands per month[i] in the UK, further adding to capacity issues. The causes are under examination but are likely to be due to transport issues, difficulty in taking time off work, arranging childcare, or due to hospital-related anxiety.

Community based healthcare and diagnostic centres have the advantage of providing better transport infrastructure by being located close to shopping or residential areas with the arena being served by a frequent tram service and live travel information screens in reception areas. Opening hours are also sometimes longer to give appointment flexibility. This in turn, makes the travel to appointments less costly and time-consuming, meaning less time off work or time away from family. Furthermore, one-stop-shop clinics and diagnostic centres can have fewer negative associations than a hospital.

“White coat syndrome is a real thing. We’ve already experienced the benefits of reducing patients’ anxiety by attending a clinic rather than a hospital environment in Leeds. We have found that some people prefer the more relaxed clinic environment without theatre lights and gowns despite it still being a sterile environment. Getting the patient pathway and the mood of the clinical environment right is essential to reach all patients,” comments Jayne Pears.

Jayne continues, “The design of the Medical Diagnostic Centre considers carefully patient diversity and medical conditions. For example, we can accommodate patients with dementia and have dimmable lighting in place for autistic patients and where necessary we can put aside a room for prayer.”

Educating young people early to value their health

Beyond its core aim of increasing capacity for diagnostic imaging and tests in the local Sheffield area, the numerous collaborative partnerships at the Canon Medical Arena will also support the wider community.

Already there are strong and lengthy links between Canon Medical Systems UK and Sheffield Sharks Basketball Club’s RESPECT community outreach initiatives, connecting with hard-to-reach young people to guide and support with citizenship, wellbeing and sport curriculums. Furthermore, Sheffield Hatters Women’s Basketball Club and LivingCare are committed to school outreach programmes with a philosophy of health prevention is better than cure.

“We undertake several school visits to promote healthy living with a focus on well young-man and well young-women messages,” adds Jayne Pears, Head of Imaging at LivingCare. “If young people can be educated early about dental health, nutrition and their body, then we can aim to prevent some long-term conditions developing in our community such as the need for dental fillings, obesity, and diabetes. This not only helps the individual, but also saves our UK healthcare system costs into the long-term.”

Futureproofing access to healthcare with passion

Balancing the needs of today in response to Covid-related waiting lists and backlogs, plus putting diagnostic imaging strategies in place to improve the equality and accessibility of healthcare will deliver improved standards of healthcare for those that need it most. At the same time, innovating the provision of healthcare closer to the community will move towards preventative aims to screen, detect and diagnose earlier which will improve life opportunities for many more people.

Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK concludes, “As we celebrate the 75th year of the NHS, it is our commitment to support and help transform the way healthcare services are delivered, particularly in diagnostic imaging. Accessibility and convenience to appointments, innovative medical technology to drive diagnosis and partnership to broaden reach, will help improve patient outcomes now and in the future.”

[i] NHS drive to reduce ‘no shows’ to help tackle long waits for care,