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£400,000 investment in high tech CT scanner for Bishop Auckland Hospital

Patients needing a CT scan at Bishop Auckland Hospital are benefitting from the latest technology as a new high spec scanner is unveiled.

Nearly £400,000, has been invested by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, to bring patients the high tech diagnostic equipment which will reduce waiting time, cut scanning time down to seconds and significantly improve the image quality of the scans.

A CT (computerised tomography) scanner is a different kind of x-ray machine which sends several beams simultaneously from different angles. It can be used to diagnose bleeding in the brain, for aneurysms, brain tumours and brain damage or for identifying tumours and abscesses throughout the body.

Dr Peter Orr, a radiologist at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "The new 64 slice scanner has vastly improved the service we can offer patients at Bishop Auckland. The new scanner produces images in much finer detail which makes diagnosis much more certain and more accurate. It brings us up to date with the latest technology and enables us to now do a much wider range of examinations for example a CT of the urinary tract which we couldn't do previously. So the patient benefits from this investment are significant and already we are receiving comments about an improved patient experience of the service."

New Scanner Launched

The CT machine takes pictures of the body from different angles and gives a series of cross sections or 'slices' through the part of the body being scanned. A very detailed picture of the inside of the body can be built up in this way.

The new Toshiba Aquillion 64 machine replaces a Toshiba single -slice scanner and means routine studies can now generate thousands of images per study. It has also reduced the actual scan time from a few minutes to 10 seconds for a head scan and 20 seconds for a chest/abdomen scan.

Judith Kent, Deputy Radiology Manager said: "This is a significant investment at Bishop Auckland Hospital and is something which is bringing a wide range of benefits to our patients. The quality and speed of the scans mean that patients are on the bed for a much shorter period of time and that waiting times have been reduced, all of which contribute to an improved patient experience. In addition to this, the new machine has enabled us to adapt our technique and means that patients can now go into the scanner feet first, depending on the type of scan required, rather than head first which patients have said makes them much more comfortable. Another patient benefit is the reduction in radiation dose levels. We are now able to see on average about 26 patients a day and we aim to increase this to 30 patients a day to continue to reduce waiting times even further for patients.

"It is very exciting to have the latest technology which is giving us more capacity and the ability to be make us think about what we are doing and what more we could be doing for our patients."

Plans are in place to also install the new scanner at Darlington Memorial Hospital in October and the scanner at University Hospital of Durham has now also been upgraded to a Toshiba Aquillion 64 slice.

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham