Business 05.10.23

Canon Medical Arena opens doors to help tackle health inequality in the region

The new development is set to improve access to preventative healthcare for the 746,000 citizens of the UK’s tenth largest city

Today, Thursday 5 October, Sheffield opened the doors to the UK’s first carbon-neutral built community arena with multi-purpose sports facility and integrated Medical Diagnostic Centre. The construction of the arena has been carbon offset with support from CO2Balance and the delivery of wind turbines in India, in turn creating carbon credits.

Located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Canon Medical Arena, formerly known as ‘Park Community Arena’, was built in collaboration with PCA Ltd (PCA), Sheffield Sharks and The LivingCare Group. Conveniently situated within the new 5000m² arena, the state-of-the-art Medical Diagnostic Centre is set to bring better healthcare to the local community with closer-to-home appointments, as well as serving the wider South Yorkshire region, improving access to health screening and disease prevention to those that need it most. The centre is operated by The LivingCare Group and features advanced Canon Medical imaging systems including AI-assisted CT and MRI scanners, ultrasound and digital X-ray, fluoroscopy, plus consulting rooms and a minor surgery operating theatre.

Sheffield is a city that faces considerable challenges on outcomes such as life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, educational attainment, unemployment, and housing. Currently the difference in life expectancy between the least and most affluent areas in Sheffield is 20 years for men and 25 years for women, and it is estimated that 20% of deaths per annum in the city could be prevented by removing the direct cause factors of obesity, physical inactivity, and environmental pollution. The unique combination of the Medical Diagnostic Centre within a community sporting and events arena, operated by PCA, not only improves the availability of healthcare to address these inequalities, but expands community access to affordable sports, education and wellbeing facilities to help people lead healthier lifestyles, and increase physical activity, further supporting a preventative approach to healthcare.

The arena is the new permanent home for professional basketball teams Sheffield Sharks and Sheffield Hatters, with 3 basketball courts and seating for up to 2,500 spectators. The arena includes studio space and a classroom and will house the RESPECT programme, which aims to enrich the lives of young people by providing better access to sports, health education and physical activity.

The initiative also aligns with national health strategies to create ‘one-stop-shops’ for healthcare checks, scans, and tests away from hospitals to help provide additional capacity for imaging procedures and relieve waiting list backlogs associated with the Covid-era.

Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK, comments, “There are areas of inequality in the UK where wellness is still determined by socio-economic group or postcode – and this is something that needs to be addressed urgently. With Canon’s long links to charitable causes, academic partnerships, health research and development organisations in South Yorkshire, the city of Sheffield is an obvious choice to build this first-of-a kind catalyst for societal change.

The opening of the Canon Medical Arena brings the provision of healthcare and wellbeing closer to the Sheffield community, as well as supporting the NHS’ preventative aims to screen, detect, and diagnose earlier and, in doing so, aid faster rehabilitation and improve life opportunities. Identifying some conditions or diseases early can enable the prescription of lifestyle shifts, such as diet and exercise, before invasive, complicated, and costly hospital interventions are required.”

Helen White, Managing Director of The LivingCare Group, states, “We are looking forward to providing an agile and flexible approach to meet the changing requirements of the NHS in Sheffield and are delighted to be using leading-edge Canon Medical diagnostic imaging systems to achieve this. Our aim is to provide outstanding diagnostic healthcare to our patients, whilst also creating jobs and supporting the training of healthcare workforces of the future. The Canon Medical Arena, and LivingCare’s part within it, is a place that we want the city to be proud of.’’

Joining a growing portfolio of health, wellbeing, sport, education and research institutions at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Canon Medical Arena will play a key role in reshaping how healthcare and wellbeing services are provided to the community – helping the UK with ‘levelling up’ to create opportunities to address inequalities in the regions that stand to benefit most. The arena will also boost employment opportunities for the people of Sheffield and beyond.