Kettering General Hospital has put in place a second new MRI scanner to replace older equipment and improve facilities for its patients.
The new scanner went live with its first patients in mid-November, marking the completion of a £3m four-year project to put in place two scanners and develop a modern purpose-built MRI scanning suite at the hospital.
The development will enable the hospital to dramatically reduce reliance on hiring a costly mobile scanner, saving more than £500,000 each year.
Kettering General Hospital’s radiology manager Tracy Reid said: “This is the end of a four-year project to improve the MRI scanning facilities at KGH.
“Our previous scanner was 13 years old and needed replacing.
“After a considerable amount of planning we put in one new scanner in 2014 and in October this year added a second.
“Since October we have been completing internal works and testing the scanner ready for its first patients in mid-November.
“We needed the second scanner in order to cope with the very large number of scans we need to perform each year – which is more than 14,500 – and which involves working all week and at weekends.
“In addition we also wanted to create a purpose built environment for MRI scanning providing better conditions for both patients and staff.”
MRI scanners use powerful magnets to take extremely detailed digital pictures of the inside of the human body.
They are used to diagnose a wide variety of medical conditions including cancers, stroke, and damage to soft tissues and joints.
Superintendent radiographer Zoe Saunders said: “With every new generation of MRI scanners the images available become better and better so that is great for our clinicians.
“The newer scanners deliver better images and record more information which can help with diagnosis.
“It also means that we can do full body scans which in some cases will mean less of a need for other scans, such as x-rays, and repeat visits to the hospital.”
The MRI scan experience for a patient involves lying still inside a tube while the pictures are taken.
The new scanners are wider and have special lighting systems that make them more comfortable and less claustrophobic for patients.
The new suite has a bigger waiting area for patients attending for a scan including toilet facilities and a private pre-scan interview room.