A hospital has opened a new diagnostic centre to reduce waiting times.

Southlands in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, held an official launch event at its Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) this month.

The centre will speed up the diagnostic process and improve patient experiences.

It currently has CT scanners, MRI scanners and three X-ray rooms.

Since opening in October the facility has tested 14,000 patients.

Christine Heels, from Ashington, who used the hospital's previous mobile scanner and the new CT scanner in the centre, cut the ribbon at the official opening.

She said: "The mobile unit was efficient up to a point, but the organisation of the waiting area wasn’t the best.

"You had to wait in your car and they would phone you to say when it was OK for you to come inside.

“If you’re thinking of the patient experience, which we all are, then it’s a huge improvement.

"I was met and greeted when I arrived for my appointment and I didn’t have to wait very long at all.

"I was in and out of the CT scanner in ten minutes, this centre really speeds things up.

"If you’ve got to have a CT scan, this is the great experience you should have.”

Jemma Deane, operational manager of the centre, said: “It was wonderful to be able to celebrate this momentous occasion with all the colleagues and partners who contributed to making our shared vision into a reality.

"I am excited for the future of our CDC at Southlands and how we can continue to work to make this a success for our service users.”

Work has already begun on phase two of the centre's development which will provide further diagnostic services including echocardiography, gynaecological and respiratory procedures.

It is expected to be finished by the autumn.