£1.8million facility opened by rugby star

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A sports star joined celebrations at a Gatwick Hospital.

Staff at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, in Horley, were joined by former England rugby player Austin Healey to celebrate the opening of a new high strength MRI scanner on Wednesday (July 10).

The facility was an £1.8m project which should enable the hospital to provide a more effective and efficient service.

It has three tesla magnetic strength - double the strength of the hospital’s old facility and double that of most MRI scanners in use.

This allows higher resolution images to be created and finer detail to be visible which could ultimately lead to the detection of smaller abnormalities, helping with the early detection of diseases.

Heather Dob, hospital director said: “I am delighted the hospital is now the proud owner of a 3T MRI scanner.

“We believe investing in cutting edge technology is highly important, as machinery such as this enables our consultants and staff to provide the best possible treatment for our patients.”

David Hillier, lead CT and MRI radiographer who will administer the scans, explained the scanner provides many other benefits for patients.

He said: “The mood lighting can be changed which should help to relax the patient.

“MRI scanners can be very loud but this one - despite being of a higher strength - is quieter.

“All patients have to wear ear plugs and with this facility they can play music through the head phone and we can play their iPods for them.

“We will be able to see far more patients in one day meaning their meetings are quicker.

“Little things make it a more acceptable for patients.”

The 3T scanner is also capable of scanning hearts while older scanners tend to only be used for muscle tissue, the brain and other organs in the torso.

Mr Hillier also said it was a ‘wide bore’ facility - meaning a larger patient can fit inside.

He said: “With our old scanner some patients felt claustrophobic and larger patients couldn’t use it.”

To find out more visit www.spiregatwick.com or call 01293 822837.