Mobile MRI Scanner improves waiting times for patients

Patients referred to St. Mary’s Hospital for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan are able to be scanned much sooner than before due to an additional MRI scanner on site.

The mobile MRI scanner, which uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body, is working alongside the existing scanner to ensure that patients are not waiting any longer than 6 weeks for non-urgent referrals and no more than 2 weeks for urgent scans.

The need for an additional MRI scanner on the Island is due to the high increase in the number of patients being referred for MRI scans, many of which are complex and urgent. The MRI team carries out on average 900 examinations each month.

Commenting on the current demand on the service and the difference the mobile unit is making, Alistair Day, Superintendent Radiographer said: “For a number of months now we have been scanning 12 hours a day, 5 days a week plus weekends to ensure we continue to provide a good service and staff have been working really hard to keep up the pace. Having the mobile MRI scanner has meant that we can run both scanners alongside each other which has really helped, especially with the more complex scans which can take longer and the urgent referrals. Having to wait any length of time for a scan can be unsettling and cause anxiety for patients so we’re really pleased to be reducing the time that patients are having to wait.”

In the last 10 years MRI referrals have increased by 120% with on average 7500 number of MRI scans being performed at St. Mary’s Hospital each year. The mobile unit was last on the Island when the MRI Scanner was replaced in 2015 and is located at the front of the hospital on an area specially designed and reinforced to accommodate the machine which weighs in excess of 31000kg. The mobile unit will be in operation until March 2019