UK News

South Tyneside District Hospital’s mobile scanner hoped to help reduce waiting lists UK News

Although the planned new ‘integrated diagnostic centre’ at South Tyneside Hospital will not be operational until later in 2022, patients at the hospital can now attend lifesaving tests every Saturday.

A new mobile specialized PET-CT scanner – which helps diagnose conditions such as cancer, heart disease and brain disorders – is available at the hospital each week. The South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust hopes this will help it resolve the backlog of planned care caused by the Covid-19 pandemic more quickly.

One of the first patients to benefit from the new scanner was Eileen Mosely of Pennywell. Eileen, 75, had a lung scan. The grandmother and great-grandmother – who previously worked in Sunderland Royal’s catering department – explained how, because she needed her daughter to help her to the appointment, the scanner available on a Saturday had been a godsend.

Read more: ‘She had a big smile and a good heart’ – Tributes paid to Sunderland intensive care nurse after her tragic death

She said: “The staff were absolutely lovely, they really looked after me. I had the injection, then I was in the scanner for about 20 minutes, then I was done. If I Had to go to the Freeman, it would have been a hike for me and my daughter, and she still works during the week.

“They were very friendly and explained the scan to me, made sure I was comfortable and the scan was really quiet. I was glad I got to do it earlier than planned.”

The new scanner is operated by long-time NHS Trust partner Alliance Medical, which is also helping to fund the new diagnostic centre.

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “We are delighted to have the PET-CT scanner on site and to be able to bring this specialist treatment to patients much closer to home.

“While we look forward to seeing our £10 million integrated diagnostics center start to take shape this year, we also know that we still have a lot of work to do to bring patients back for their tests and scans. PET-CT increases our ability to do so and also reaffirms our commitment to investing in exceptional facilities that will benefit local people for years to come.”

It is understood that Alliance Medical will bear the capital cost of the new building and provide diagnostic services there for an agreed period of more than 10 years, with the trust paying a “per scan” fee. Alliance Medical has a long history of supplying mobile diagnostic vans for the Trust and providing PET-CT scanners across the NHS.

David Cahill, Chief Commercial and Strategic Officer for the company, added: “We are delighted to see that our partnership is already making a real difference for patients in the region. The mobile scanner as well as the new static scanner under construction will also allow us to provide the best access to patients and our NHS partners. We are committed to continuing the development of PET-CT services across the country.