A new £1m MRI scanner, the first of its kind in the region, is aiming to speed up diagnosis at North Tyneside General Hospital.
Newcastle Eagles player coach Fabulous Flournoy and Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell were on hand to unveil the state-of-the-art facility last Friday.
The scanner will be used to scan almost any part of the body and diagnose neurological diseases, cancers, damage caused by sports or other injuries, as well as degenerative conditions such as arthritis.
The high quality 3D imaging and fast screening rate means 7,000 patients a year will be diagnosed and treated quicker.
“It is being provided and operated by InHealth, and will be available seven days a week.
Dr Mark Twemlow, consultant radiologist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to unveil our fantastic new MRI facility which will give patients access to some of the very best diagnostic equipment.
“The high quality 3D imaging also gives us a much more accurate picture of what is going on inside the body which ultimately means we can diagnose and treat our patients sooner.”
Mr Campbell said: “I am honoured to open the new MRI centre and delighted to see such investment in North Tyneside General Hospital by Northumbria Healthcare.
“It is fantastic to have such a facility in the borough to enable residents to have their scan locally, seven days a week, and the fact that the new scanner will make people’s experiences even better is excellent news.”
‘Fab’ Flournoy said: “As a professional sports player I often see injuries which need quick diagnosis and I am very impressed with the new facilities here and the significant investment going into the local NHS.
“I’ll certainly know where to come next time any of my team are injured on court.”
Patients are given the option to wear headphones while using the scanner and in the spring, new technology will be added to the scanner to improve patients’ experiences even further by reducing the noise of being scanned.
Richard Bradford, chief executive of InHealth, said: “We look forward to continuing our work with the Trust to deliver the very best diagnostic services for local patients in North Tyneside.”
To give patients and GPs greater flexibility, the MRI scanner is currently open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings.