Technology in Imaging, or Radiology, has advanced quickly in recent years, with many new developments in the equipment and methods used to diagnose and treat patients. Imaging facilities at our Trust are far-reaching, with services provided at both hospitals, our A&E department, the Rowley Bristow Unit for orthopaedic patients, our theatres, maternity and with mobile equipment for patients on our wards.
In order to provide the very best, up-to-date services for our patients and to keep up with increasing demand, we have recently made some exciting improvements, including upgrading our imaging equipment in partnership with Phillips. We hope you enjoying reading our insight into Imaging.
Making waves in ultrasound
Advanced Practitioners in Ultrasound, Marianne Hickinbotham and Nathan Reed demonstrating one of the new ultrasound machines recently installed. The team perform approximately 4000 ultrasound scans per month at the Trust.
Our Sonographers have an ‘extended role’ compared to some other hospitals, so they are able to perform some more specialist types of scans that would mainly be done by Radiologists, such as contrast enhanced ultrasounds of the liver, kidney and testes to classify lesions and HyCosy – a fertility examination used to look at the fallopian tubes.
We have overhauled our CT (computerised tomography) service, dismantling and replacing all our old scanners with new state-of-the-art equipment - take a look on the front cover.
The new technology provides much higher quality images and also enables new types of specialist scans - such as CT colonography (bowel) and cardiology – which were previously unavailable to patients at the Trust.
At St Peter’s Hospital we have installed an extra CT scanner and having two rather than one enables the team to provide a quicker and more consistent service seven days a week. We are also in the process of building a purpose built suite to house the two scanners – which will be a better and more spacious environment for patients and staff.
New Interventional Radiology Suite
Interventional radiology is a minimally invasive technique at the cutting edge of Radiology – where wires and tubes are guided through the body using imaging to treat a wide range of conditions. It’s a service we are growing at the Trust and the types of procedures we provide include vascular angiograms and angioplasties (to widen narrow or blocked blood vessels and improve blood flow) and PTC Cholangiograms (to treat problems with the bile ducts in the liver).
The service recently achieved Exemplar Status from the British Society of Interventional Radiology.
Our old interventional radiology area at St Peter’s was quite cramped and patients had to move to the Day Surgery unit to recover after their procedure. We recently relocated the service to a purpose built suite and the new three bedded recovery area can be seen in the picture above.
Developing the team
Our team is genuinely passionate about providing the best possible service for our patients and we currently have a lot of service improvement projects underway. We want to reduce appointment waiting times as much as possible, increase access for patients with seven day working and ensure that all our patients feel well cared for and supported when they come into the department.
An integral part of this is encouraging the whole team to share their ideas and play their part in developing and improving our services. We have a ‘team huddle’ every morning to set priorities and share information about the day ahead, and closely monitor our performance each week with the results displayed on boards for everyone (staff and patients) to see.
We are particularly interested in how we can nurture the talent and enthusiasm of our staff to progress their skills and make their jobs more interesting. For example, we have trained some of our Advanced Practitioner Radiographers to report on musculo-skeletal and chest X-rays, a role historically only carried out by doctors.
We also offer training to some of our radiographers in mammography (breast X-ray) and are looking to expand training for our Radiology Department Assistants in the future, with cannulation courses for example.
I am very proud of our close knit, hard-working and dedicated team.”
Imaging Operations Manager