Hospital first to buy new hi-tech scanner

IPSWICH Hospital is the first medical centre in the world to get a new hi-tech scanner to help make life easier for cancer patients.

The radiotherapy team at the Heath Road hospital, which is renowned for being one of the best in the country, has won the race to be the first on the world health scene to get the new Computed Tomography (CT) simulator.

The new scanner is specially designed for radiotherapy patients and takes precise images of where the tumour is so patients can receive more accurate radiotherapy treatment. It is bigger than a conventional CT scanner so it can scan patients in the very position in which they will have their radiotherapy, which means they don’t have to move around as much.

Hayley James, operational head of radiotherapy physics at the hospital, said: “This reproducibility of the treatment position makes treatment planning easier. In many cases, it is also more comfortable for the patient.”

The machine, which thanks to new technology gives a high-quality scan with a lower dose of radiation than regular scanners, will help with treatment planning for at least 20 patients every week.

Suzanne Isherwood, radiotherapy manager, added: “The manufacturers GE Healthcare want to use us as a reference site for the scanner which shows the high regard the industry has for our department.

“We are considered one of the top radiotherapy units in the country and it is important for the people of Suffolk to know the treatment they get here is the very best.”

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The hospital invested �650,000 in the new machine which is used for patients with a variety of cancers.

Another key feature means in instances where patients have metal prosthetic implants, such as a hip replacement, the scanner can take clear images without picking up the traditional glare that can result from conventional scanners. It also means they are more comfortable.

Last year the radiotherapy team announced it was the first hospital in the UK to get a new state-of-the-art treatment machine for skin cancer patients.