'It looks whizzy dizzy' - First patient uses new MRI scanner

Alice Drewitt

Alice Drewitt, from Costessey, was the first patient to use the new scanner at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: NNUH

An £8m project to modernise scanning equipment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been hailed by its first patient as "whizzy dizzy".

The magnetic scanner went live at the radiology department this week as it nears the completion of upgrading four MRI scanners and a CT scanner. 

The first patient to use the equipment was Alice Drewitt, from Costessey, who called it an "impressive piece of equipment". 

The 32-year-old said: “It was really exciting being the first patient to go into the new scanner and to be part of history for the N&N radiology department.

“It is a very impressive piece of equipment. It looks really whizzy-dizzy. It was not as terrifyingly noisy as the old scanners and the beep in between scans was a nice touch because I knew when I could move.

"It is reassuring to see crisp white, very modern looking equipment; it gives you a sense of confidence and the team seemed really impressed with it too.

“Actually they are a lovely team; they really put me at ease as they know some of the challenges I have and they create a really relaxed atmosphere which is important because having a scan is not the nicest experience.”

Work has been under way since November last year to replace the 13 year old pieces of equipment at the Norwich hospital's radiology department and Cromer Hospital. 

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The scanner at Cromer was lifted out by a crane and went live in February.

Dr Rayhaan Rahaman, NNUH chief of imaging, said: “This significant investment will make a huge difference to patient care with improved imaging and reliability, which will also benefit the Trust with research and training. Having the latest state-of-the-art scanners will help the trust to recruit and train future radiographers who provide a vital role to help diagnose cancer and a host of other conditions.”

Additional mobile scanners will be used at NNUH, when required, to maintain scanning capacity during the works.

NNUH deputy MRI lead radiographer Dave Hewson said: “New software will facilitate some body imaging to be performed without the patient having to repeatedly hold their breath, which will allow for a wider range of patients to successfully undergo these examinations.”