Newton News Proud to Have Blown the Whistle

Patients at Darlington Memorial Hospital can now benefit from the second of two new state of the art MRI scanners at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
The scanner has been purchased in part thanks to the generosity of local people, business and organisations who have been donating to a fundraising appeal. The appeal, which will continue to fund-raise until the end of 2018, has also brought a new MRI scanner to Bishop Auckland Hospital, installed in December 2017.
Dr Elizabeth Loney, Consultant Radiologist said, “I’m delighted that our patients are now benefiting from this innovative technology.  Modern scanners play an important part in helping our Consultants diagnose and determine treatment plans for what can be life threatening or life limiting conditions, including many types of cancer and heart disease.
Previously patients had to undergo exploratory and sometimes invasive surgery to support the diagnostic process. This advanced technology, which provides detailed and high quality images, will help reduce many such interventions.
At Darlington, we also have a purpose built new MRI suite with spacious changing facilities and areas where patients can be cannulated and, when needed, anaesthetised, leading to a much better patient experience.
“Not everyone realises that MRI scans often take between 30 and 40 minutes which is a long time to lie still, but our new scanners have wider tunnels, known as ‘bores’ and are much quieter than older models.  Patients can also choose from a selection of lighting programmes which change during the scan.
In the past, many children required sedation or a general anaesthetic in order to tolerate being scanned, but we’re finding this is now much less likely. The number of adults unable to proceed or who require sedation or general anaesthetic has also reduced.   This is much better for patients and saves the Trust valuable time and resources.
“We’ve been amazed and very touched by the generosity of local people who have donated to our Appeal.  Individuals, groups, associations and local businesses have all stepped-up, recognising the huge benefits these scanners will bring.  It’s important that fundraising continues throughout 2018. We’re grateful to scanner manufacturer Philips, who has generously deferred payment for both scanners until the end of the year.”
One of the first patients to benefit from the new Darlington Memorial Hospital MRI scanner was Kevin Hogg, who said, “I’d had a previous MRI scan in an older scanner where the room felt quite cramped, the tunnel was smaller and noisier. I was more than pleasantly surprised by my more recent experience at Darlington.  It felt like the difference between Economy and First Class.
Because the technology is so new, the scan itself was much quicker, I was able to hear and reply to the radiographer in the control room, who talked to me throughout the scan.  Being able to choose lighting themes may not sound much but it’s very calming and I also like the idea that you can watch a film – all meaning a much better experience.  The staff were very attentive and reassuring throughout.”
Newton News, through the Editor Syd Howarth is so proud to see this magnificent outcome, having initiated the appeal.
Syd saw figures showing the Trust paying a private finance company £1 million a year to hire MRI equipment when it only cost £1 million to buy and this had been going on for 18 years!
He blew the whistle and the Trust took the idea on board to launch the appeal and now Bishop Auckland and Darlington Hospitals have state of the art scanners bringing so many benefits to patients, and saving the NHS Trust a £1 million each year!

Photo: Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, Councillor Wendy Newall, patient Kevin Hogg and members of staff at the formal opening of the new MRI Scanner at Darlington Memorial Hospital.