The MRI scanner has been lowered into the Ashington-based hospital and installed in the department, making the latest technology available to patients who need planned diagnostic tests.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with InHealth which provides MRI services on behalf of the Trust, has invested in the new equipment which will scan its first patients later this month.
The ultra-modern scanner is the same model that is in place at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington and ensures clinicians have access to the highest quality of images to help diagnose and treat patients quickly.
Used to scan almost any part of the body and diagnose neurological diseases, cancers, damage caused by sports or other injuries, as well as degenerative conditions such as arthritis, the new scanner will be able to carry out more complex scans.
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This means that patients, requiring prostate or heart scans for example, will not have to travel out of the area.
The new MRI scanner also has a much wider area for patients to lie down, helping to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and anxiety that can often come with a scan and makes the procedure much less daunting for patients.
Dr Rahul Dharmadhikari, consultant radiologist and trust-wide clinical lead, said: “With such a large piece of equipment, installations like these take careful planning and we’re pleased that the scanner is in place and preparing to scan its first patients later this month.
“The investment is bringing the very best diagnostic equipment in the world, let alone the NHS, to Wansbeck General Hospital and is great news for patients.
“In modern-day healthcare it’s so important that our clinicians have access to the latest technology and the highest quality images in order to diagnose patients quicker and start treatment sooner.
“The new MRI scanner, with its wider area for patients to lie down, will make such a difference, reducing the sense of claustrophobia and improving the overall experience of care. Being open seven days a week will also improve access for people requiring a planned scan.”
Every year more than 7,000 MRI scans are carried out at Wansbeck General Hospital. This includes patients who have attended the hospital’s urgent care centre, patients attending as outpatients following a GP referral as well as inpatients being cared for on the wards.
To give patients and GPs greater flexibility, the new MRI scanner at Wansbeck will be open 8am to 8pm seven days a week.
A mobile scanner has been in place during the installation to ensure patients can continue to receive scans locally.