The League of Friends of
Bexhill Hospital -
Working for the good of
Local patients since 1952

Reg. CIO Charity No 1169175 Bexhill Hospital Holliers Hill Bexhill-on-Sea TN40 2DZ Email

New MRI Scanner Suite for the Conquest Hospital

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A SYMBOLIC sod-cutting ceremony has marked the start of an ambitious project that by next April should be offering local patients state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging scanning. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust acknowledged the key role played by the Conquest Hospital Friends' MRI Scanner appeal and the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital by inviting representatives to the Thursday, December 13th ceremony.

It was not grass that was being cut ceremonially but asphalt. Contractors' plant is already on site and preparatory work for construction of the MRI suite has begun. The £1m scanner appeal has purchased the first MRI device. A £679,000 gift by the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital (in addition to its £54,000 contribution to the MRI appeal) is enabling the Trust to buy a second scanner so saving it the £350,000 a year it currently costs to rent one.

The gift is also enabling the Trust to construct a new double-MRI suite from the outset rather than incur the cost of enlarging the building at a later date to accommodate a second scanner whenever it could be funded. Trust chairman David Clayton-Smith was flanked by MRI scanner appeal chairman and Vice Lord Lieutenant Sara Stonor and Bexhill League Vice-President Peter Mitchell-Davis at the ceremony and accompanied by Trust clinical leader and consultant radiologist Dr Justin Harris at the on-site ceremony.

The chairman expressed the Trust's gratitude to both the scanner appeal group and the Bexhill League of Friends. Sara Stonor thanked donors to the scanner appeal - from private individuals to business sponsors.

Peter Mitchell-Davis said it had been the dream of former Bexhill League chairman Stuart Earl who sadly died in October to see the scanners for which he had worked so hard serving local patients.

At a reception in the Conquest Hospital's education centre where illustrations showing how the MRI suite will look on completion were on display Dr Harris told how 18 lorries will arrive at the site early in the new year bearing prefabricated parts for the suite. The building, its furnishings and ancillary equipment are being funded by the Trust. By April it is hoped that the two Siemens Aera MRI scanners will be in action and the Conquest's 15 year-old scanner will be consigned to the scrap heap.

The scanners would offer the very latest technology, avoiding the need to send local patients “on blue lights” to London or Brighton for specialised diagnosis. The suite would offer the dignity of separate changing rooms for outpatients and inpatients together with designated rooms for both anaesthesia and recovery. Audio-visual equipment would offer diversions for very young patients.

The Bexhill League was also represented by Treasurer Chris Ashford, president and Secretary John Dowling and committee members Harriet Chapman, Ann Dowling, Audrey Kerr, Bridget Hollingsworth and Robin Poll.