The first NHS hospitals are receiving Canon Medical Systems relocatable CT scan units from NHS England under its COVID-19 recovery plan.
The programme is aimed to help Trusts catch up on delayed outpatient CT scans from the Coronavirus lockdown period, and boost imaging capacity to see greater number of patients into the future.
One example comes from the impact of COVID-19 on diagnostic imaging at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, where there has been an increased demand for chest CT scans, creating a backlog of routine patient scans, and increased time for cleaning CT scan rooms between patients. It is estimated that an extra 62 hours of CT scanning time is required per week.
Helen Lancaster, Director of Operations at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be allocated this capital resource by NHS England / Improvement. Year-on-year demand for CT scans has grown significantly and is unlikely to decrease given the changes required in cancer pathways and diagnostic techniques.”
“With the added considerable impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Trust’s capacity to perform many diagnostic procedures, the implementation of the CT scanner at Stratford Hospital is significant in ensuring our patients are seen and treated as soon as possible.”
Mark Kon, Consultant Thoracic Radiologist & Clinical Director of Radiology at Bradford Royal Infirmary, commented: “The Relocatable CT Scanner allows us to keep ‘Green’ patients (without suspected COVID-19) separate from Red (suspected COVID-19 patients), mirroring the cohorting we have on the wards. Although our teams of radiographers were divided into red and green at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they shared a common CT control room. Having an entirely separate scan facility means there is much less risk of cross infection.”
Alanna Marvin, Associate Director of Imaging at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey states, “We are delighted to accept the relocatable CT scan unit on loan from NHS England. It is situated at our non-acute Ashford Hospital site, near to the imaging department. The additional CT will allow us to increase our CT capacity to greatly benefit patients. Our radiographers have transitioned smoothly onto the unit due to the fact we already have two Canon Medical Aquilion CT scanners at the Trust.”
The CT Scan Unit features an Aquilion CT and includes a control room and small changing/storage area. It is designed with the correct clinical flooring, hospital grade heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements plus datalink connectivity.
“The relocatable CT scan unit was quickly designed and manufactured by our team and partners at the start of the Coronavirus crisis. It is a quick-to-deploy solution for hospitals needing additional imaging capacity for routine work, or a separate red / infectious zone to keep COVID-19 risk patients separate. It can be positioned without building works or hospital reconfiguration by simply being sited in a car park or land adjacent to a hospital,” concludes Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical.