Health February 16, 2019
Diagnosing the future

By News - World Healthcare Journal

Early diagnosis is key to future of healthcare, says Dr Steven Powell, Chief Diagnostic Officer at Rutherford Diagnostics

Diagnostics is a word which increasingly came to the fore of the healthcare industry in 2018, with the agreement across the board that quicker diagnosis
is needed in order to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes. 2019 has started with a similar emphasis, with the British government announcing a 10-year plan for the NHS that places early detection and prevention of disease at the core of the NHS future, as part of an additional £20bn investment in the NHS. The government and NHS bosses believe the plan could save up to 500,000 lives.

One company, Proton Partners International, is opening its Rutherford Diagnostics centres across the UK in a bid to detect a range of diseases at the earliest opportunity.

This January saw a construction team break ground on Rutherford Diagnostics’ headquarters in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) within Liverpool City Council’s £1bn Paddington Village development. The five-storey building will be positioned opposite the Royal College of Physicians’ new northern headquarters, ‘The Spine’, and sits directly adjacent to the Rutherford Cancer Centre North West, which is the Liverpool branch of Proton Partners International’s cancer centres being built across the country to provide high energy proton beam therapy to cancer patients.

The arrival of the Liverpool headquarters for Rutherford Diagnostics was welcomed by the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who said: “This diagnostics centre is going to be a fantastic addition to Paddington Village and further boosts our plans for a world leading innovation hub in the heart of the city’s Knowledge Quarter. Paddington Village is gaining real momentum with renowned tenants like Proton Partners International, the RCP and Kaplan investing in the city and creating highly skilled jobs – and the great news is that there is much more to come. ”

The Rutherford Diagnostics headquarters will focus on the prediction, prevention and detection of various health conditions, while also utilising innovative technologies such as genomic sequencing, personalised screening and state-of-the-art diagnostic treatments to reduce levels of acute illness and support good health.

Dr Steven Powell is the Chief Diagnostic Officer at Rutherford Diagnostics, having previously worked in various aspects of radiology for many years, as well as being Clinical Director of a busy UK teaching hospital. He joined the team in 2017, after being Director of the Accelerator, a home for life science businesses in KQ Liverpool.

“The Health Foundation recently reported that 10,000 deaths could be prevented each year in cancer alone through better diagnosis,” says Dr Powell. “At present, the healthcare industry is reactive to people’s needs, but we need to take a more holistic approach to the problem by focusing on early detection. The UK government is finally getting to grips with the need for rapid diagnosis, with the Prime Minister’s recent 10-year plan for the NHS placing considerable emphasis on prevention and early detection.

“In many parts of the UK, patients are often forced to wait many weeks or months for a proper diagnosis, and these delays can be dangerous – especially in advanced cases. By opening centres such as Rutherford Diagnostics across the country, we plan to work with public and private healthcare bodies in order to reduce waiting times down to days instead of weeks. Ultimately, we aim to be able to provide a 24-hour turnaround service. This will mean that patients can commence treatment sooner, which has the potential to save lives. ”

“We aim to be able to provide a 24-hour turnaround service. This will mean that patients can commence treatment sooner, which has the potential to save lives”

– Dr Steven Powell, Chief Diagnostics Officer, Rutherford Diagnostics

Rutherford Diagnostics will provide services such as CT, PET-CT, MR, ultrasound and endoscopy, working not just in oncology but in other key areas of healthcare where faster diagnosis is needed such as cardiac disease.

Dr Powell adds, “The UK currently lags behind other countries in terms of the actual machinery we have in order to diagnose patients. For example, Germany has five times as many CT and MR scanners as the UK healthcare system does, relative to the population sizes of each country. Britain is more on a level with countries such as Mexico and Hungary in terms of the diagnostic scanners we have, whereas we should be aiming to be a centre of excellence within the healthcare field.

“Our aim for the Rutherford Diagnostics centres is to provide a pleasant and welcoming non-hospital clinical environment where all relevant tests can be done without facing the hurdles and obstacles o en associated with a larger, all-encompassing healthcare facility. ”

As well as diagnosis itself, Rutherford Diagnostics aims to focus on the prediction and prevention of disease by using genomic data in order to study medical patterns in certain conditions and determine risk factors.

Dr Powell said, “Our aim is to revolutionise healthcare by looking at the whole picture – if we can anticipate an individual’s condition before it becomes a major issue, this will allow them to fast-track through the system and present them with the opportunity to tackle their condition at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Our team is hugely excited to be a part of this process and we look forward to welcoming the first patients at our Liverpool centre later this year. ”

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