New machine doubles key scans
A new scanner is helping to clear our waiting lists by doubling the number of patients seen every day.
The SPECT-CT scanner uses radioactive substance and X-ray to create detailed images of inside the body.
It can help diagnose a number of conditions including bone disease, stroke and cancer.
The new scanner has been installed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital but will be available to patients from across north east London including those at Newham, Whipps Cross and The Royal London.
Using the old machine, our teams could scan around four patients per day. The new device means we can double this, and that’s not the only advantage.
Software upgrades have helped lower the radiation dose given to patients without affecting the quality of each scan.
Accuracy has also improved, with the machine reducing the impact of so-called ‘artefacts’ such as pacemakers, hip replacements or dental implants in images.
Set in a larger, more colourful and welcoming space, patients have already reported feeling more at ease using the new equipment, which will be deployed in a number of clinical trials.
Diagnostic waiting times have increased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and our staff are working hard to see patients as soon as possible.
SPECT-CT (short for 'single photon emission computerized tomography') combines images from two different scans to get a precise picture of the human body. The nuclear medicine team at St Bartholomew’s Hospital perform around 1,800 scans every year. During the pandemic they have adopted evening and weekend working to get through waiting lists.
Speaking at the official opening of the scanner last week, our group chief executive Alwen Williams called it “a fantastic innovation” and “key to restoring services and seeing patients quickly”.
She also praised the team for installing the new device in the middle of the pandemic - an effort that was recognised with a Barts Health Heroes award at a ceremony in London earlier this month.
Chief radiopharmacist and head of nuclear medicine Busola Ade-Ojo (pictured below) said: “Accurate scans mean early diagnosis and more effective treatments for our patients.
“We are delighted to offer this new and improved service to our east London population and proud to play our part in the recovery of NHS services.”