CDCs are a welcome initiative to increase diagnostic capacity nationally. Since their introduction, monthly diagnostic activity has increased by 18% between October 2021, when the Spending Review funding was announced, to October 2023 (1.9 million tests per month in October 2021, to 2.3 million in October 2023) (NHS England 2024).

The government is on track to meet its commitment to establish up to 160 CDCs by 2024 (Department of Health and Social Care 2023) – by October 2023 these new facilities were delivering 7% of all diagnostic tests nationally (NHS England 2024), making a significant contribution to the expansion of capacity seen since the pandemic. Despite the limitations on workforce and funding, the national CDC programme has demonstrated how provider collaboratives are able to drive major capital and clinical transformation projects. They show that provider collaboratives can be a vehicle for boosting capacity at a system level to deliver on local and national priorities.