An ambitious appeal is being launched this week to raise £2million for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner at the Friarage Hospital.
South Tees Hospitals Charity is embarking on its first major fundraising campaign – in partnership with the Friends of the Friarage – to reach its target by December 2015.
And the Friends have certainly got the ball rolling by pledging £250,000 at Thursday’s launch with further fundraising to follow.
MRI scanners are increasingly used to diagnose a wide range of health conditions and the trust carries out over 17,000 scans every year – 4,000 of which are for patients living in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area.
However, as the Friarage Hospital does not have an MRI scanner, North Yorkshire patients currently travel to Middlesbrough or Darlington for these important imaging tests.
Paul Watkins, the charity’s head of fundraising and volunteering, said: “This is one of our most important and pressing appeals but we need £2million to make it a reality.
“We’re working in partnership with the ‘Friends of the Friarage’, which has pledged an incredible £250,000 at the appeal’s launch, to raise the remainder of the money and with public support we can help ensure the hospital remains at the forefront of patient care for the local population.”
Over the years, the Friends have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Friarage Hospital, thanks to the dedication and backing of its volunteers and supporters.
Newly appointed chairman Lol Bailey said: “An MRI scanner is a much-waited for resource by the medical teams at the Friarage and will be a very welcome addition to the diagnostic services currently available there.
“Ultimately it will mean care closer to home – reducing travelling times and waiting times for patients – and we’re delighted to support such a worthwhile campaign.”
Benefits of an MRI scanner at the Friarage include:
- Providing a local inpatient service for residents from North Yorkshire area
- Reduced waiting times
- Conditions being diagnosed more quickly and faster treatment planning
- Less travelling to other hospitals for scans
- Greater working with other clinical specialties such as the on-going orthopaedic developments at the Friarage
- Providing the trust with the capacity to comply with national guidelines
- Supporting clinical trials to help improve the trust’s research profile
- Reducing the need for costly exploratory surgery
Dr Sheamus Fitzgerald, a consultant radiologist at the Friarage, added: “Not only will the new machine cut waiting times, it will enable us to diagnose conditions more quickly, hopefully leading to better health outcomes for our patients.
“Also as a regional cancer centre we need to be able to response to any request for diagnostics and of the 4,000 scans carried out on our North Yorkshire patients, 15% do relate to cancer. This extra capacity will enable us to remain at the forefront of cancer care in the country.”
Trust chief executive Professor Tricia Hart added: “The Friarage is a vital and valued part of the local community and we’re committed to the long-term future of the hospital. Having a scanner will ensure we can meet future growing demand and increase our diagnostic capacity across the organisation.”