by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | February 12, 2015
A new ten-year NHS contract will provide for PET/CT scanning services across 30 locations in the U.K., according to NHS England.
The consortium that won the contract, The Collaborative Network, is led by Alliance Medical and includes The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, as well as local NHS and charitable providers, and academic institutions.
"NHS England is committed to improving the diagnosis of cancer and this investment in vital scanning services will support this in providing a rapid turnaround of scan results, at a greater number of locations across the country. This is very positive news for patients," Dr. Wai Lup Wong, consultant radiologist and Chair of NHS England's PET/CT Clinical Reference Group, said in a statement.
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The new partnership, chosen by NHS England following a competitive tender, will provide PET/CT scanning services to 60 percent of the population across 30 locations in England, according to a statement by The Christie.
The alliance will invest £87 million over 10 years to install new scanners and improve the current infrastructure. Twenty four existing sites will remain where they are, and six new sites will be added at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford; Cumberland Royal Infirmary, Carlisle; Lincoln County Hospital; Southmead Hospital, Bristol; Royal United Hospital, Bath; and Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.
In keeping with the global trend towards value-oriented health care, the group has committed to cutting the cost of scans by almost 18 percent from current prices.
"While it is important to provide a service that is fit for purpose now, we have also made a commitment to NHS England to work with, among others, the Clinical Reference Group to evaluate emerging technologies and radioactive tracers such that evidence-based decisions on service developments can be made," Guy Blomfield, Alliance Medical chief executive, said in a statement.
The new services begin April 1st. The move from mobile to fixed sites will take place over 10 years, allowing scanners to be available up to five days a week, rather than on fewer days of the week, as is the case at some facilities at present.
The previous national contracts for PET/CT imaging services - North and South - were awarded by the Department of Health to Alliance Medical Limited and InHealth Molecular Imaging Limited in 2008.