A new mobile scanner arrived at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital this week to help patients at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust have detailed cancer scans closer to home.
The state-of-the-art PET-CT scanner will be in use at the Coreys Mill Lane hospital every Tuesday – potentially saving patients in Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire from a 70-mile round trip to Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood, where these scans continue to take place on a daily basis.
The scan tells doctors about the presence, location and severity of cancers, and this important information is used to help ensure patients receive the right treatment for them.
The weekly service is being run in partnership with the UK’s largest specialist provider of diagnostic and healthcare solutions, InHealth, whose mobile unit will be based near to main entrance of the hospital every Tuesday – behind the Treatment Centre.
Patients who choose to be scanned on a different day or require an urgent appointment can still be seen at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, with the same consultant team from specialist medical charity Paul Strickland Scanner Centre overseeing both services.
There is also scope to extend the Lister service to include Thursdays, and a plan to have a fixed location for a PET-CT scanner at the hospital within two years.
On Tuesday, Nick Carver – chief executive of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust – met with the first patient to use the new scanner at Lister.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “This is a fantastic moment both for our patients and our staff.
“Cancer affects so many of us, so reducing the travel time for patients who require a PET-CT scan to make things a little bit easier for them is an important step.
“The new mobile unit will also enable patients to be diagnosed and begin treatment more quickly. In June we met all our cancer waiting time targets, and having this state-of-the-art scanner at Lister as well as Mount Vernon will help us to continue to provide prompt, high quality care for our patients.
“I also wish to thank both the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre and InHealth for working with us to making this new service possible – seeing the scanner in use for the first time here is a proud moment for the trust.”
Paul Strickland Scanner Centre’s CEO, Claire Strickland, said: “We are very proud of this new service. It is a flagship collaboration between us as a specialist cancer imaging charity, our industry partner InHealth and the NHS.”
Geoff Searle, chief executive at InHealth, added: “InHealth is extremely delighted to form this partnership with East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre.
“This new service, delivered with modern technology in our fantastic facilities, will help reduce waiting times, improve access for patients and provide a more convenient location in this region.”