New MRI and CT scanners, upgraded X-ray and ultrasound suites, and additional cardiology, lung function and phlebotomy capacity are set to be available to patients in a Suffolk town.

The facilities will be part of a new diagnostic centre for Newmarket set to open in April 2024 after health bosses backed the scheme that will cost nearly £15million.

The new centre will be built next to Newmarket Community Hospital in Exning Road and cost £14.7m. It will have annual running costs of £3.7m.

The proposals were backed at Tuesday's meeting of the Suffolk and North Essex Integrated Care Board - the new body that has taken over from the CCG in providing health facilities.

It approved the business case for the centre and formally urged the South East region of the NHS to approve the construction of the centre.

It is the second diagnostic centre in the area to be approved - Clacton's £22m centre opened in March and plans for a similar centre in Ipswich are currently being developed.

Work on the Newmarket centre is due to start in April next year and the building is expected to be complete by early 2024 and take its first patients in April 2024.

Presenting the proposals, board member Craig Black said the new centre should make diagnostic services more accessible for more patients.

The major challenge could be finding skilled staff to operate the facilities. He said: "When you have something new like this it is often attractive to potential staff and there is a honeymoon period - but then you find there are gaps elsewhere."

Sue Cook from Suffolk County Council said it hoped to be able to smooth things through by helping to set up training schemes and raising the profile of the project.

Mr Black said the opening of the Clacton centre had been crucial. That had been seen as a flagship project and staff from north Essex had helped with the Newmarket application with their help vital in producing the proposal and giving it credibility during the application process.

The ICB hopes the final go-ahead will be given in October to allow formal planning applications to be made and tenders signed in time for construction work to start next spring.