£1 million super scanner unveiled at Cheltenham General Hospital
THOUSANDS of patients will benefit from a new era of scanning thanks to a state-of-the-art machine which has pride of place in Cheltenham General Hospital.
A new CT scanner was officially unveiled yesterday after a successful £1 million fundraising drive, backed by the Echo.
Now one health chief has paid tribute to the efforts of those who made it happen, describing their support as "truly humbling".
The Heart, Mind & Body £1m Appeal was launched by Cheltenham-based charity Cobalt, which supports people with cancer and other life-limiting conditions, and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in September.
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Cobalt chief executive Peter Sharpe said: "The partnership has been fantastic and a wonderful example of how local hospitals, charities and their supporters can work together to provide the latest equipment and care, giving patients the very best."
The scanner, one of only seven in the country, has been custom-built in Tokyo and, after a month of installation and testing work, will scan its first heart patients today.
It boasts the very latest technology – providing clearer, faster scans and more detailed images.
The shorter scan time will result in a more comfortable experience for patients and decreased waiting times.
It can scan the heart in 0.35 seconds, making it possible to get images for some patients without the added risk of drugs to slow down the heartbeat.
Lead radiologist Dr Garrett McGann said: "The new scanner will be very fast, and able to scan a patient's chest, abdomen and pelvis in just four seconds – nearly seven times faster than our current scanner.
"The radiation dose to patients will also be vastly reduced.
"And the image quality will be extremely accurate, letting doctors see more detail of the body and revolutionising the way we diagnose heart disease, cancers and traumatic injury. We expect to see 12,000 patients in the first year."
The cash was generated from hospital charities, foundations, donations, legacies and a community fundraising effort, which ranged from sky dives to dress-down days.
Hospitals trust chief executive Dr Frank Harsent said: "When the trust met with the Cobalt team well over a year ago to discuss how we could raise £1m, we knew it would be a big ask.
"Working together, it has taken us just over a year to achieve. To Cobalt, Focus, the Cheltenham General Hospital League of Friends and all the countless local fundraisers, who have not only donated to the appeal, but also given their spare time to raise the money, thank you – your support is truly humbling."
The final £20,000 for the scanner was raised in July and August.