Press Office


Improving diagnosis of diseases


Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals have been awarded nearly £800,000 to improve the way diseases are diagnosed, benefiting patient care.

Specialists at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust will work with experts at Newcastle University, to test the effectiveness of new diagnostics tests for cancer, cardiovascular, liver, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases, stroke, genetics, infections, and transplantation.

Every year over 16 million diagnostic tests are carried out across the NHS. This money announced by the Department of Health will fund research that looks at the way a number of different diseases are diagnosed, so patients can access the best available treatments more quickly.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will share the funding across four NHS organisations in Newcastle, London, Leeds, and Oxford. These places will become national centres of expertise called NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives.

Welcoming the Department of Health announcement, Professor Chris Day, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences said: “Faster and better diagnosis can be lifesaving for patients and the use of clinical research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients is a priority.

“Our centre will promote research into medical tests used to diagnose conditions such as cancer, liver and respiratory diseases. Working with the Newcastle Hospitals we can ensure that patients benefit from advances in technology.”

NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives will bring together a wide range of experts and specialists from across the NHS and industry, including clinicians and other healthcare professionals, patients, NHS commissioners and researchers and will investigate a number of different clinical areas.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, CBE, Chief Executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Accuracy and time are of the essence when it comes to making the right diagnosis for many diseases. So making sure that our diagnostic tests are as effective as they possibly can be, has a major impact on the outcomes for many of our patients.

“Healthcare research is a big part of Newcastle Hospitals’ work as it ultimately leads to improved care for our patients, and this funding gives a welcome boost to our diagnostic testing research in some important areas of healthcare within the Trust. It is also a demonstration of the NIHR’s faith in our research activities and helps us to build on the excellent relations we already have with Newcastle University.”

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. The new Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, 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.”

published on: 2 June 2013