An exciting programme of investment is bringing digital x-ray equipment to Stratton, St Austell and Bodmin hospitals over the coming year.
Digital x-ray equipment is modern efficient imaging technology that enables faster patient throughput and, importantly, reduces patient ionising radiation dose. The x-ray equipment replacement project at these community hospitals is allied to Cornwall’s Shaping Our Future strategy, improving care closer to home and digitising x-ray services throughout the county.
The x-ray services in community hospitals are critical to the work undertaken in Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) and support outpatient clinics and referrals from GPs in these locations, preventing the need for patients to make long journeys to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro or Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
The project began with the installation of a new DR Philips x-ray unit in one of the two x-ray rooms at St Austell hospital in the Autumn last year, replacing equipment that was more than 10 years old with modern, high speed, low dose x-ray technology.
Jane Downie, St Austell Link Specialist Radiographer said, “The replacement project went really smoothly and the new equipment and is a delight to use. It is much easier for the Radiographers as high-quality digital images are produced in seconds, enabling us to check our work very quickly which is really helpful when patients are in pain.”
The next step sees work get underway to install a new DR Philips x-ray at Bodmin Community Hospital with the unit scheduled to be operational by Monday, August 5th.
To enable the new installation, imaging services will be significantly reduced at the Bodmin Hospital site between Friday 31st May and August 5th. X-ray examinations will be limited to upper limb from elbow to fingers and lower limb from knee to toes during this period.
Plans are in place for the Bodmin MIU, outpatient clinics and local GPs to advise them where their patients needing x-rays should be directed whilst the new x-ray equipment is being installed. Alternative x-ray facilities will be available at Newquay and St Austell Community hospitals Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 hours.
Neil Jones, Bodmin Link Specialist Radiographer says “Whilst it is going to be inconvenient for patients and staff for the 8 weeks the x-ray room at Bodmin is out of action, it will be well worth it. Bodmin x-ray department has a very high throughput of patients every day and the new, faster technology means that we will be future-proofed for the years ahead.”
Next will be the replacement of the x-ray equipment at Stratton Community Hospital in Bude to support the outpatient and minor injury unit services there. This installation has been made possible following an extraordinarily generous donation from The Friends of Stratton Hospital. The current equipment at the hospital is 20 years old and has been ready for replacement for some time. Detailed project planning is underway and the staff at the hospital can’t wait for digital imaging to arrive in the North of the County.
Gail Morwood, Stratton Link Specialist Radiographer says ’This new x-ray equipment is much needed and, being digital, the x-rays we take here in Stratton can be viewed and reported by the Consultant Radiologists and Specialists based at Royal Cornwall Hospital without delay. The digital x-ray equipment will ensure that modern imaging services will continue to be provided at Stratton Hospital for many years to come.’
Emma Spouse, RCHT Imaging Services Manager added, ‘The healthcare community is very grateful to the Stratton Hospital Friends for their very generous donation to fund the new digital x-ray equipment. Their kind gift has definitely enabled this project to happen and will provide up-to-date imaging technology for local people in Bude and surrounds, within the next 12 months.’
These three projects are a great example of the way acute, community, commissioning, voluntary and private sector organisations are working together to deliver brilliant services for patients and local communities.
Scott Mann MP for North Cornwall said: “I’m very pleased that this new programme of investment is supporting two Minor Injuries Units in North Cornwall. The ability to have these services in the local area is something my constituents have asked for, and any project which helps bring health care improvements to our community is something I will support. I have always believed that health services should be provided as locally as possible, and after the recent successful review into radiotherapy services in Cornwall, I know how important this is to local families. Having resources like this allocated to our MIUs will ensure their long term future as part of the health care offer in North Cornwall.”