Building work begins to house new MRI scanner

Building work has begun to house a new MRI Scanner at the Friarage Hospital as charity campaigners’ edge closer to their £2million target.

Construction partners Interserve have started work in the former special care baby unit where the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment, which is used to detect a wide range of conditions in almost any part of the body, will be based.

The scheme is expected to take around six months and will be completed by spring 2017 although fundraising by South Tees Hospitals Charity – in partnership with the Friends of the Friarage who have generously pledged £500,000 towards the Appeal – continues until the end of this year.MRI construction starts

South Tees’ Head of Fundraising Paul Watkins explained the success of the campaign so far was down to the generosity of the Friends and the support of the local community.

“I’m delighted to say we’re almost there. It’s great to see the builders moving in to start the enabling works to bring this essential piece of medical equipment to Northallerton,” he said.

“While we’re at the bricks and mortar phase, I’m conscious the hard work really began a few years ago when we launched this Appeal and the residents of North Yorkshire have rolled up their sleeves and really got behind us.

“Your support has been phenomenal and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends, the charity team and everyone who has held an event, shaken a tin or made a donation. We’re so close to our fundraising target and I know we can get there!”

MRI scanners are increasingly used to diagnose a wide range of health conditions and the Trust carries out over 27,000 scans every year – 6,500 of which are for patients living in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area.

However, as the Friarage doesn’t currently have this diagnostic equipment, North Yorkshire patients can often find themselves having to travel to Middlesbrough or Darlington for these important imaging tests.

Chair of the Friends of the Friarage Dr Upendra Somasundram added: “The scanner will be a fantastic additional resource for the medical teams at the Friarage, complementing the diagnostic services currently available at the hospital.

“We’re delighted to support such a worthwhile cause which will provide a much needed local service to the local population in such a valued hospital. It’s great to see this development progressing and we’ll continue to fundraise right up to the installation of this vital equipment.”

Having a scanner on the ground floor of the hospital will:

  • Provide a local diagnostic service for local residents
  • Reduce outpatient and inpatient waiting times
  • Enable conditions to be diagnosed more quickly with faster treatment planning
  • Mean less travelling to other hospitals for scans
  • Allow clinical specialties at the Friarage to work closer together
  • Allow the development of new clinical services at the Friarage Hospital
  • Support clinical trials to help improve the trust’s research profile
  • Reduce the need for costly exploratory surgery

David Flewker, regional director, Interserve Project Services Ltd, said: “Interserve is delighted to be delivering the MRI Scanner development at the Friarage Hospital. We have worked closely with the Trust to design this facility and as a local company we are extremely pleased to be involved with a project that will bring an improved level of healthcare to the community.”

Local MP Rishi Sunak has also added his support to the Scanner Appeal and said: “This is great news for the Friarage and its future. The Friends and the South Tees Hospitals Charity have done a fantastic job of raising the money for a hugely beneficial item of equipment which will provide invaluable diagnostic capability right here in Northallerton in our much loved local hospital.”