New hospital scanner installed

A GIANT crane has delicately lowered a Suffolk hospital's latest piece of high-tech equipment into place.The £1 million Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, which will mean five times more patients can be scanned for life-threatening conditions like cancer and brain tumours, was installed at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday.

A GIANT crane has delicately lowered a Suffolk hospital's latest piece of high-tech equipment into place.

The £1 million Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, which will mean five times more patients can be scanned for life-threatening conditions like cancer and brain tumours, was installed at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday.

Bosses at the unit secured some of the funding for the five-ton equipment from the National Lottery and they were delighted to have the scanner in place.

Claire Moore, senior MRI radiographer: "It's come directly from the factory in Germany where it was made and a team of engineers will now install it. It's not so much its size which makes it impossible to get it into the hospital any other way, it's the weight."


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The scanner will allow the Hardwick Heath hospital to scan up to 4,800 patients every year – five times more than the machine being replaced, which catered for four patients a day.

Mrs Moore said she was delighted with the installation of the new equipment: "The new scanner will be of great benefit to our patients as it is the imaging method of choice for spine and knee problems.

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"It is also invaluable in the diagnosis of cancer and the assessment of neurological complaints. The scanner is an important piece of technology which will help take the West Suffolk Hospital into the 21st Century and will benefit all clinical departments."

West Suffolk Hospital's first MRI scanner was installed 13 years ago following a hugely successful appeal to raise £750,000 through community activities and fundraising events.

Joint funding from the National Lottery's New Opportunities Fund and the Eastern Radiology Development Group has paid for the new machine, which is three times stronger than the equipment it replaces.

It will allow doctors to view highly refined, cross-sectional images of the entire body without surgery or the use of X-rays. It is also hoped the scanner, which can be used to produce a clear picture of all muscles, soft tissues and ligaments, will help make back problems easier to diagnose.

The scanner should be operational by the beginning of April.

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