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MRI scanner appeal - hospitals need your support

MRI appeal launch

A fundraising appeal has been launched to bring the latest state-of-the-art MRI scanning technology to Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland Hospitals.

The appeal which is being run by the official Charity of County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust aims to raise £2.5m for two new scanners which will provide much improved images and a better experience for patients.

Dr Elizabeth Loney, Clinical Director for Radiology, explains, "MRI scans are particularly good at looking at soft tissues. Tremendous advances in technology over recent years mean they can be enormously helpful in diagnosing cancer, heart conditions, strokes and many other health issues.  Scans can also give doctors information that previously required the patient to undergo surgery or another invasive procedure as part of the investigation of their symptoms.  Crucially, MRI scanners don't use radiation, unlike x-rays.          

"MRI scans are so useful we're doing more of them each year.  In the last year alone the number of MRI scans has increased by 11%.

"In the past, some patients have been unable to tolerate the noise or have felt claustrophobic during the scan which can result in it being abandoned.  An MRI scan can take between 30 minutes and an hour - much longer than people may realise, so comfort is really important.  Modern scanners have a choice of music the patient can listen to - they can even bring their own! 

"We're re-developing the whole MRI suite at Darlington.  Changing and waiting areas will provide greater privacy.  Anaesthetic facilities will be improved which will particularly benefit children who can't lie still in the scanner. 

"An MRI scanner is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment a hospital will ever purchase and with the NHS facing huge financial challenges we need to seek public help in buying them.   We're lucky to have the support of Rotary Club Darlington with their great fundraising track record. 

"We've already had donations from people happy with the care they or a loved one has received, regardless of whether they had a scan.  We'd love the whole community, including individuals, companies, schools, sports clubs etc, to support us by holding events such as coffee mornings, cake sales and sponsored activities in aid of the Scanner Appeal. Every pound counts.  After all, you never know when you or a loved one might need a scan.

"We're happy to offer support and advice and will be publicising events and fundraising on the CDDFT website."

If you would like to make a donation to our MRI appeal or get involved:

  • Visit the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity 'justgiving' website at:
  • Send a cheque to: Cashiers, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Hollyhurst Road, Darlington, DL3 6HX. Please make cheques payable to: Co Durham & Darlington NHS FT Charity. 
  • Pick up a donation envelope with more information, from one of our waiting areas or wards.
  • Text SCAN02 £10 to 70070 to donate to CDDFT.
  • To discuss fundraising or for more information, ring 01325 743786 or email:
  • Follow us on twitter:  @CDDFTCharity
  • Find the charity on Facebook


7 February 2017


'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital