Arrival of new MRI scanner signals advance in patient care

A state-of-the-art MRI scanner, which has been funded by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust, is due to arrive at Noble’s Hospital next week. 

The Siemens 3Tesla MRI will allow more complex scanning to be carried out on Island than in the past, and as a result fewer patients will need to travel to UK hospitals for their scans. 

Purchased by the Trust at a cost of £1.2 million, the equipment is the final element of an enhanced cross-sectional imaging facility based in a bespoke new scanning suite at Noble’s. 

The department has funded a building programme at Noble’s to create the high tech suite, which includes a copper-lined room to house the MRI, an ambient lighting system to create a relaxing environment for patients, and new changing rooms. Innovision technology is also being installed so that patients can watch a customised video while undergoing a scan to reduce anxiety.   

A crane will be required to lift the MRI off its lorry and manoeuvre it into place through a hole in the outside wall of the hospital, a painstaking operation which will require traffic to be re-routed and a bus stop moved to provide space. 

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford told B365: ‘The department is enormously grateful for the purchase of this new MRI by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust, which has again provided something that is truly state of the art and which will enhance patient care here on the Island. Our reconfigured Radiology department can now offer facilities to match those in some of the most advanced UK centres, meaning fewer trips across for patients – a superb achievement by all concerned.’  

Chair of Trustees Terry Groves said: ‘Providing facilities which make a real difference to the healthcare of patients is our goal, so we are proud to have funded the acquisition of the MRI. UK hospitals are facing increased demand in the wake of the pandemic, and inevitably there is a backlog for scans. This new equipment will allow more people to be seen at Noble’s as it will be run alongside the existing MRI, so for the project to come to fruition now is really pleasing.’    

The new suite already has two new Dual Energy CT scanners donated by the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group and Mannin Cancers following an Island-wide fund raising appeal. An official opening to mark the donation and thank supporters will be hosted by the charities in the autumn. 

The radiology team has maintained its service with existing machines alongside the building programme, a challenge in itself due to the disruption and noise generated by the works. 

Consultant radiologist Vanina Finocchi said: ‘Our ambition to upscale facilities is now almost realised, thanks to the generosity of the Trust and the hard work and dedication of colleagues in the hospital, from clinical staff to our estates team. Logistically, this has been a significant challenge, but we have all shared the same vision, driven by the benefits it will bring for our patients. It will also enhance the standing of radiography services in the Isle of Man and will help attract senior clinicians to work in the department. It is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked with – and we are nearly there!’

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