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Dr Steven Powell

Chief Diagnostic Officer, Rutherford Diagnostics

There is a growing consensus that early detection and prevention of disease is the key to the future of healthcare and in particular cancer. Rutherford Diagnostics, a network of diagnostic centres, the first being built in Liverpool, is set to become a leader in this effort. 


Construction of a new state-of-the-art diagnostics facility in Liverpool began in January 2019, and it is expected to have a huge impact on the way diseases are detected and treated. 

Diagnostic provision has been increasingly in the press over the past year, thanks to growing consensus that quicker diagnosis is needed in order to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes. In early January, the UK government unveiled a 10-year plan for the NHS that places diagnostics at the heart of the NHS’s future. What’s more, the government also announced that people in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genes which can help predict the risk of developing conditions such as cancer or Alzheimer’s. 

Rutherford Diagnostics aims to be at the forefront of revolutionising healthcare by becoming a leader in the prediction, prevention and earliest possible detection of disease, as well as being equipped to conduct the most complex of diagnostic tests across a wide range of conditions using the latest technologies. 

Diagnostic tests for out-patients could be a game-changer

Dr Steven Powell, Chief Diagnostic Officer at Rutherford Diagnostics, stated that the objective of the centres is to change our approach to healthcare: “At present, healthcare providers react to people’s advanced ill health, resulting in late stage diagnosis and leading to extremely stretched resources. We need to take a more holistic approach to the problem by placing emphasis on early detection. That means patients can get relevant diagnostic tests in a non-hospital clinical environment and early referral for less invasive therapy by an appropriate specialist if necessary. That would be a real game changer in cancer diagnostics in the UK.”

The Health Foundation recently reported that 10,000 deaths could be prevented each year from cancer alone through better diagnosis.

Shorter waiting time for patients

“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 crucial – 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.”

Diagnostics for multiple areas of healthcare 

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. Proton Partners International, who are behind the project (and behind the Rutherford Cancer Centres, the first to treat patients in the UK with high energy proton beam therapy), hopes to build Rutherford Diagnostics facilities across the UK. Its facility in Liverpool is expected to be completed by the start of 2020. 

Dr Powell added: “The Health Foundation recently reported that 10,000 deaths could be prevented each year from cancer alone through better diagnosis. The Government is now 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.”

“By utilising and developing innovative technologies, such as genomic sequencing, personalised screening and state-of-the-art diagnostics, we hope to reduce levels of acute illness and support good health. It is only by proactively targeting illness at its roots that we can transform healthcare and improve patient outcomes across Britain.”


Find out more from Rutherford Diagnostics by visiting our website, or calling on 0800 804 7102

February 2019

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