State-of-the-art diagnostic centre opens its doors at Colchester Hospital

Colchester Hospital has welcomed its first patients to a new state-of-the-art imaging centre which aims to speed up diagnosis while ensuring everyone receives care in bright and modern surroundings.

The new unit, called the Turner Diagnostic Centre, has been built near to the hospital’s Emergency Department and houses three specialised diagnostic services – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning, Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanning and nuclear medicine.

One of the first centres of its kind in the country, it has brought all of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging services into one place to make them easier and more convenient for patients to access.

The work has seen two brand new MRI scanners, both of which are wide bore machines for people who suffer from claustrophobia, installed on the ground floor which replace the current single fixed scanner and a mobile scanner. A third will be added at a later date to increase capacity still further.

In addition, a new PET-CT scanner, which is mainly used to diagnose cancer, has been installed and will be available through the week, replacing a mobile unit which previously visited the hospital once or twice a week.

Finally, two nuclear medicine rooms containing a Hybrid Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography and combined CT scanner and a SPECT gamma camera have also been created, replacing the previous service which was split between Turner Road and Essex County Hospital.

Cathy Harwood, chief nuclear medicine technician at the hospital, said: “We are delighted that work on this important new facility is now complete. It has brought all three of these diagnostic services into one place for the first time, making them easier and more convenient for our patients to access.

“The centre will increase the diagnostic capacity we have at Colchester, in turn allowing us to improve waiting times by seeing more patients and ensuring they receive their results quickly so that treatment can begin as early as possible. It will also ensure that those referred for tests can have these important scans in bright, modern and comfortable surroundings which are all located under one roof.

“The centre will open seven days a week for MRI scans giving patients more choice of appointment times to further improve the experience they have when receiving care.”

The centre will be used by patients from across north east Essex, while the PET-CT scanner will also be available to patients from the Ipswich and Chelmsford areas.

The centre has been developed as part of ongoing plans to transfer all clinical services from Essex County Hospital in Lexden Road to Colchester General Hospital in Turner Road by the summer.