A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner is now up and running at the Friarage Hospital – thanks to the phenomenal support of the people of North Yorkshire.
This month, the radiology team scanned their first patients on the diagnostic equipment which, when fully operational, will treat 22 patients a day, seven days a week.
The opening is a milestone for South Tees Hospitals Charity which launched a fundraising campaign to bring a scanner to the Northallerton hospital and has, to date, raised in excess of £1.4million.
This includes £500,000 pledged by the Friends of the Friarage who have generously supported the Appeal in partnership with the Charity.
The scanner, which is housed on the ground floor of the hospital near to the main hub, will be used to detect a wide range of conditions in almost any part of the body.
The Trust’s Chief Executive Siobhan McArdle said: “I would like to thank both South Tees Hospitals Charity and the Friends of the Friarage on behalf of our organisation for their remarkable fundraising efforts and continued support.
“The new MRI scanner, along with other planned service developments such as The Sir Robert Ogden Cancer Centre, demonstrates our long-term commitment to delivering clinically safe and sustainable services to the people of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Whitby and the surrounding area from our Friarage site.”
South Tees’ Head of Fundraising Paul Watkins explained the success of the campaign was down to the ‘overwhelming’ support and passion of the local community.
“The hard work really started a few years ago when we launched this Appeal and its success can be directly attributed to the generosity of the residents of North Yorkshire who have really done us proud,” he said.
“While the scanner is not yet fully operational, it was a proud day to see the first patients – and radiology staff – using this equipment. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends, the charity team and everyone who has supported this campaign. As a charity, we will continue to fundraise for the Scanner Appeal but it’s great that the Friarage now has this essential diagnostic equipment which will save patients having to travel further afield to undergo important imaging tests.”
As well as providing a local diagnostic service for local residents, having a scanner at the Friarage will help to reduce outpatient and inpatient waiting times and enable conditions to be diagnosed more quickly with faster treatment planning.
For patients, it will mean less travelling to other hospitals for scans while for staff it will allow clinical specialties to work more closely together and develop services.
Chair of the Friends of the Friarage Dr Upendra Somasundram added: “This was an important cause we were delighted to get behind. The scanner will be a fantastic additional resource for the medical teams and provide a much needed local service to the local population.”
Radiology manager at the Friarage, Fiona Harker, said the radiology tem were delighted to be able to provide this important diagnostic service at the hospital.
“We have been looking forward to this important development for local people for many years. This is a great boost to the radiology service and the Friarage Hospital and will reduce the travel requirements for lots of local patients requiring an MRI scan.”