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Work to begin on diagnostic centre at Colchester General Hospital this week

PUBLISHED: 16:51 04 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:00 06 February 2017

Artist'’s impression of the new diagnostic imaging centre at Colchester General Hospital. Image: CHUFT

Artist'’s impression of the new diagnostic imaging centre at Colchester General Hospital. Image: CHUFT


Construction on a new multi-million pound regional diagnostic centre will begin at Colchester General Hospital on Wednesday, February 8.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the project to build the state-of-the-art imaging centre, which will house three specialised services.

Two MRI scanners, and later a third, will be housed in the centre to replace the existing single fixed and one mobile scanner at the hospital. One of these will be wide-bore, meaning larger patients or those with claustrophobia can use it.

Also included is a PET-CT scanner, mainly used in cancer diagnosis, which will be available all-week instead of the mobile unit which visits one or two days a week currently.

The hospital trust’s nuclear medicine department will also be housed in the centre, with a SPECT scanner and a gamma camera.

The two-storey building, located near A&E, is expected to open to patients in spring 2018. Patients from the Ipswich and Chelmsford areas will use the PET-CT scanner.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT) and Alliance Medical Ltd, which provides the hospital’s current MRI and PET-CT service, are behind the project.

David White, hospital trust chairman, said: “Modern diagnostic imaging services are critical for the trust to deliver timely high-quality care to our patients.

“This development will significantly improve facilities in Colchester for the three key services.”

Russell Trenter, regional managing director for Alliance Medical, added: “We are proud to be working in partnership with CHUFT to deliver this truly innovative community-based solution tailored around local diagnostic needs.

“We look forward to making our shared vision a reality and in doing so provide patients with access to high-quality diagnostic imaging in a modern purpose-built environment.”

Construction will be led by R G Carter, a national firm whose southern base is in Colchester.

No figure has been released for the cost of the building, but the new medical equipment alone will cost in the region of £5million.

The scheme has been championed as bringing faster diagnoses, closer to home, while also providing new and improved waiting areas for patients instead of using the mostly mobile – and external – services.

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