28 July

A new state-of-the-art CT scanner which will improve the experience of patients has been installed at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

The Lingen Davies Cancer Fund donated £475,000, which paid for a Radiotherapy CT scanner – one of the first of its type in the country – and an injector pump, for the Lingen Davies Centre.

Stephanie Cockerill and Mercia Edwards, Pre-treatment Lead Radiographer, setting up the new CT scanner

Louise Killey, Radiotherapy Services Manager, said: “Staff are very excited to be able to use the scanner. It will be great for our patients as the advanced technology results in improved image quality of the CT scans – this will enable Consultants and Dosimetrists to contour treatment areas with ease and lead to improvement in efficiency of our planning. We want to give our patients the best treatment that we can.”

A core team from the Radiotherapy and Medical Physics departments at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals, launched the CT scanner project, but it was paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the core team include: Kirsten Hughes, Senior Clinical Scientist; Stephanie Cockerill, Pre-treatment Superintendent Radiographer, Louise; Mark Hardy, Head of Radiotherapy Physics and Mike Alexander, Principal Clinical Scientist.

Once the project restarted, the team evaluated various scanners on the market. Key things they looked for included quick and effective training; customer care; size of scanner bore to enable specialist radiotherapy equipment as well as the patient to be scanned; quality of the images and amount of radiation dose. They went on to buy a Canon Aquilion Exceed LB.

Major building works took place in the Radiotherapy Department to accommodate the new radiotherapy scanner in a former treatment room.

Sheila Fryer, Interim Deputy Chief Operating Officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The new scanner uses state-of-the art technology and will enable us to plan our patients’ treatment and care more effectively and precisely. Thank you to all those that have been involved in the project.”

Mike Alexander, Stephanie Cockerill and Mercia Edwards, Pre-treatment Lead Radiographer, with the new CT scanner

The advanced technology of the scanner enables outlining of a patient’s tumour and normal organs to be done precisely in a more efficient manner; for patients with metalwork there is no longer ‘streaking’ on the images, resulting in clearer images for planning and negating the need for other imaging such as MRI.  There is also improved ability to capture a patient’s breathing motion for advanced techniques. This is all achieved with a lower dose of radiation given.

The team said that major physics commissioning had to take place between installation and clinical use of the scanner as Radiotherapy uses images very differently to those from a diagnostic scanner.

Kirsten Hughes, Senior Clinical Scientist, who was involved in the commissioning work for the CT scanner, said: “There has to be a thorough test of the CT scanner to make sure that everything is as it should be and make sure it’s giving good image quality whilst reducing the dose of radiation to the patients.”

Louise added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Lingen Davies – without them we wouldn’t be able to have this wonderful scanner and advanced scanning for patients. To Lingen Davies and all those who raised funds for the charity thank you.”

The existing scanner has remained operational while all the work has taken place.