New MRI scanner delivered

A second state-of-the-art MRI scanner has been delivered to Forth Valley Royal Hospital as part of a major new plan to increase diagnostic, surgical and inpatient capacity. The £1million specialist 3Tesla scanner, which weights 8 tonnes, was carefully craned into position outside the hospital before being wheeled along a corridor into its new home within the hospital’s radiology department. The magnet in the new MRI scanner, which is double the strength of the existing MRI scanner, will be able to provide higher quality images for more complex scans and faster scan times. It will be set up over the next few weeks in a specially refurbished room with a picture ceiling and ambient lighting to help patients relax in calming and less clinical surroundings.

MRI scanners are used to take images of all parts of the body including the brain, spinal cord, heart and blood vessels and internal organs such as the liver, womb, prostate gland and gall bladder. This second scanner will enable NHS Forth Valley to scan thousands of additional patients every year with scanning taking place 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Six additional MRI radiographers have been recruited to support the expansion plan.

The delivery of the new scanner comes just a week after the first of two additional operating theatres opened at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. The second theatre is due to open later this year and additional inpatient beds will also be established on the hospital site to support the increased theatre activity. The major £17 million investment forms part of the Scottish Government’s National Waiting Times Improvement Plan and national elective care centre programme.

NHS Forth Valley Chief Executive, Cathie Cowan, said: “We know that waiting for a scan or an operation can be very stressful and this significant investment will help us to reduce delays for many patients.”

Sandra Robertson, NHS Forth Valley’s Radiology Department Manager, said: “Our existing MRI was replaced last year and it’s great to have a second new scanner so soon. This will not only enable us to provide thousands of additional MRI scans every year but will also provide back up if there are any operational or technical issues.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The investment in this MRI scanner comes from our £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan that I launched in October last year and will help to increase the number of diagnostic appointments available, allowing patients who are waiting for treatment and operations to be seen quicker as well as taking pressure off other parts of the system that deal with unplanned and emergency treatment.

“The immediate focus of the improvement plan is three fold: to reduce waits for patients whose treatment is urgent, those who have a suspicion of cancer, and those who have waited longest for an appointment. We are continuing to work with boards to ensure the additional funding available delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”