Health chiefs officially opened a brand new £300,000 Computed Tomography (CT) scanner at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on Monday.
The new machine will give patients faster access to diagnostic imaging, and will help the hospital cope with increasing demand.
A CT scanner creates detailed images of structures inside the body such as internal organs, blood vessels and bones as a cross-section, or slice, and gives more detailed information than standard X-rays.
The new addition will work alongside the existing Optima 660 CT scanner system, both of which are designed to provide a reliable CT platform for high quality, reliable and consistent diagnostic imaging at a lower radiation dose.
Currently, the department performs around 32,000 CT scans per year.
The demand for CT scans at the RLI has increased each year by approximately 2,000 – 4,000 cases and is expected to continue to increase.
Having two machines will mean that more patients will be able to have their scans done sooner enabling faster diagnoses and shorter waiting times. The CT scanner consists of an x-ray tube that rotates around the body.
Sharon Timperley head of radiology, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, said: “The new system will ensure we provide a robust, safe, efficient CT scanning service for the patients of Morecambe Bay, giving increased capacity and therefore helping to reduce waiting times for patients needing a CT scan.”
During a scan, patients will usually lie on their back on a flat bed and be moved continuously through this rotating beam. The x-rays will then be analysed by a detector and passed to a computer, which then produces a picture of the internal structure of the body.
The images provide information that doctors can use to help diagnose medical conditions. CT scan results can confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis and can sometimes identify unsuspected conditions.