Ground-breaking new MRI scanner will help nervous patients

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Care UK has taken delivery of a ground-breaking new mobile MRI scanner. It’s only the second of these to be seen in the whole of the country and will bring big benefits to the NHS patients attending many of its clinics.

MRI scanners offer a tremendous opportunity for clinicians to see what’s going on inside the body, helping with accurate diagnosis or allaying fears about unexplained pain. However, many patients find the process quite intimidating, with the need to remain completely still in a confined space for a reasonable period of time and the off-putting noise of the machine as it scans.

This new generation mobile scanner has been purchased by Care UK for use in two of its NHS services in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire. The scanner operates far more quickly and produces scans of a considerably higher resolution so reducing the time patients need to be inside and cutting down on the need for repeat scans caused by a patient inadvertently moving.

It’s also significantly quieter than other similar scanners creating just three decibels of sound more than its room’s normal noise levels. Both aspects are good news for nervous patients in the East Midlands.

As well as being used at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre near Chesterfield, the scanner, which is housed in a comfortable clinic created in large mobile unit, will also be taken out to small towns in rural Lincolnshire to deliver state-of-the-art scanning to patients with back and joint pain.

Other benefits to consultants, patients and GPs include;

  • A large field of view, allowing clinicians to view the entire spine in one scan.
  • Improved image resolution with the ability to visualise smaller structures in the body with no gaps between slices
  • The ability to produce dynamic scans to visualise flow of the capillary system without the need for contrast injection

Simon Harvey, who leads on diagnostic imaging for Care UK nationally, said: “The new generation of MRI scanners produce high quality images, scan more quickly and are more patient friendly. The high quality images and scanner capabilities also enable our consultants to make quicker and more accurate diagnoses. That improves the subsequent planning of treatment which leads to the most effective possible approach for all of our patients.

“The service will be scanning patients for a wide range of joint problems such as hips, knees, shoulders and spines at its weekly visits to our centre in Chesterfield.  Many of those patients will also go on to receive treatment there.”

The centre’s hospital director, Steve Booker, said: “This is a great boost to the treatment centre’s facilities. In March we opened our new laminar flow operating theatre. This gave us four theatres and enabled us to introduce an ophthalmology service to sit alongside our established orthopaedic service. Now this new MRI scanner will provide an even better quality service for patients and our clinicians.”

The mobile MRI scanner will also deliver vital services at the North Hykeham Health Centre in North Hykeham, Lincoln and the County Hospital in Louth, where Care UK provides the East and West Lincolnshire Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service.

Patients in the region who are told by their clinician that they might need a MRI scan can ask their GP or consultant whether or not it’s possible for them to be referred to one of the two Care UK services using the scanner.

Information is given on the websites of both services at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre and East and West Lincolnshire Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (CATS).

Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre is just one of nine treatment centres which Care UK has provided for NHS patients over the past 10 years.

All offer shorter than average waiting times and none of them have ever had a case of hospital-acquired MRSA.  Procedures offered vary from centre to centre but include orthopaedics, cataracts, oral surgery, urology, gynaecology and endoscopy. Care UK also runs a number of diagnostic services which offer NHS patients speedy access to tools like MRI, ultrasound and x-ray.

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