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Successful MRI scanner appeal draws to a close

MRI appeal final shots

An appeal to help bring new state of the art MRI scanners to Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland hospitals has drawn to a close following almost two years of successful fundraising and the installation of both scanners. 

MRI appeal final shots

Pat Chambers, charity manager at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said,  "We're so grateful to local people, businesses and organisations for getting behind the appeal and recognising the difference modern MRI scanners can make to patient care.  The generosity has been humbling.  For instance, several couples asked family and friends for a donation towards the appeal in lieu of Ruby or Golden wedding anniversary gifts - totalling over £1k in some cases.  Rotary and Lions Clubs also made significant donations having held events on behalf of the Appeal.  A number of businesses adopted us as their 'Charity of the Year' for either 2017 or 2018, while others held or took part in sporting events on our behalf.  

"Colleagues in the Trust also played their part with bake sales and other activities - including a number of brave souls who undertook a sky dive for us!  

"The appeal raised an amazing £750k with the Trust providing the balance needed to buy the scanners and build a new MRI suite at Darlington Memorial Hospital, including an anaesthetic room and changing facilities. 

"Philips, who supplied both scanners, graciously deferred payment whilst the appeal continued, meaning patients benefited from the new equipment sooner than would otherwise have been the case." 

Consultant radiologist and clinical lead for the project, Dr Elizabeth Loney, said, "Modern MRI scanners play an important part in helping Consultants diagnose illness and determine treatment plans for what can be life threatening or life limiting conditions, including many types of cancer and heart disease.  Previously patients may have had to undergo exploratory and sometimes invasive surgery to support the diagnostic process. This advanced technology, which provides detailed and high quality images can help reduce many such interventions, improving the patient experience. 

"Not everyone realises that MRI scans can take between 30 and 40 minutes to perform 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 run during the scan. In the past, children and some adults required sedation or a general anaesthetic in order to tolerate being scanned, but we're finding this is now much less likely."


Published 11th February 2019

'I cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we have this service at all and well done to you all.'

Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley Bridge Community Hospital