Charing Cross to ‘decant’ MRI outpatients to other hospitals

Image: Charing Cross Hospital

Outpatients requiring MRI scans at Charing Cross to be sent elsewhere until October

Outpatients requiring and MRI scan from Charing Cross hospital will be ‘decanted’ to other centres across London until later this year.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which manages Charing Cross hospital, are investing in a state-of-the-art 3T MRI scanner for the Imaging department, as a replacement for their existing 15-year-old scanner. This £3.4m investment is part of the trust’s wider estates investment plan.

In order to ensure MRI capacity is maintained during the installation works (7 May – 1 October 2024), most MRI outpatient care will take place in St Mary’s Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, and the Wembley Community Diagnostic Centre during this period.

The Imperial College Healthcare Trust says the Philips 3T 7700 is one of the most advanced MRI scanners available. It offers a much wider range of scans and significantly improved images, assisted by the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which will improve our diagnostic capability and give healthcare staff the ability to tailor scans more closely to patients’ needs.

It will also provide a better experience for patients, with a screen and audio within the scanner to guide them through the scan itself.

For some patients, it could also mean shorter scan times. The hospital will also have prism glasses, which enable patients to see outside the machine during the scan and canhelp patients deal with feelings of claustrophobia.

The hospital have also agreed to be a reference centre for the scanner in the region, which will mean they will continue to receive the latest software updates and three months of training to support staff to use the equipment (from October 2024).

The Trust says staff will ensure the installation, which will be on the first floor of Charing Cross Hospital, has as little impact on healthcare provision as possible. Expected busiest periods are to be during removal of the existing scanner in May and the introduction of the new scanner in September.

Dr Amrish Mehta, consultant radiologist and director of women’s, cardiac, clinical support and sexual health services at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said:

“This investment is great news for staff and patients alike. This cutting edge technology will significantly improve our diagnostic capability and quality, allowing us to better tailor scans to patients’ needs. The scanner itself also has features which I hope will make the experience a little easier for patients.

“Thank you to everyone involved in this exciting programme, including everyone supporting the temporary decant so we can maintain our MRI capacity during the installation.”