New scanner at South Tyneside hospital is one of best in world

South Tyneside District Hospital's new MRI scanner - the first of its kind in the UK '“ is now up and running with patients benefiting from some of the most sophisticated technology in the world.

Monday, 1st January 2018, 8:00 am
From left, radiographer David Barlow, lead consultant for radiology Dr Richard Cooper and MRI lead Miles Weston at the new MRI scanner, with a work by artist Bob Olley providing the backdrop
From left, radiographer David Barlow, lead consultant for radiology Dr Richard Cooper and MRI lead Miles Weston at the new MRI scanner, with a work by artist Bob Olley providing the backdrop

By providing highly accurate digital images, the new machine is enabling doctors to diagnose more diseases and conditions - from cancers to sports injuries - in more parts of the body, more quickly, for patients from South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The previous scanner had different pieces of equipment for scanning different parts of the body, sometimes requiring patients to be moved if multiple areas of the body are to be scanned.

The new scanner incorporates more of these pieces of equipment together within the patient table and less movement is required when more than one body area is being scanned.

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Dr Richard Cooper, lead consultant for radiology at the hospital, said: “The new scanner is a fantastic asset in our drive to improve radiology services for local patients. It is much more efficient, the quality of the images is exceptional and results are now available much faster.”

Work on the installation of the new MRI machine, including removal of the previous one which had been in use since 2004, began in September but the service for patients was seamless due to the introduction on site of a temporary mobile scanning unit.

One wall of the scanner room is devoted to a work called ‘Coal, Ships, Fish and Chips’, by South Shields artist Bob Olley, which captures the famous landmarks of the borough.

The new £1.5m MRI scanner is the latest investment in the South Tyneside District Hospital site.

In the past two years, the Trust has also opened Haven Court, a £9 million centre of excellence for integrated health and social care for older people and a new £1.4 million surgical centre, which is improving patient experience and access to surgical services.

It also hopes to start work in 2018 on a new energy centre, which will signal a further investment of £5 million.

Dr Shaz Wahid, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s medical director, added: “We’re very proud to be able to offer our patients this latest cutting edge technology and we are very excited about its potential.

“It demonstrates our commitment to major investment at South Tyneside District Hospital in line with our aim of providing local services of the highest quality for local people now and in the future, despite the unprecedented financial pressures facing the NHS.”