AN APPEAL to install MRI scanners worth £2.5million at two County Durham hospitals has been launched.

Campaigners gathered outside Bishop Auckland Hospital today (Friday, March 17) to appeal for the state-of-the-art scanners to be installed at the hospital and Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Durham county councillor for Bishop Auckland Town, Joy Allen, was among the campaigners shown the hospital’s current radiology facilities by Dr Elizabeth Loney, clinical director of radiology at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, during the visit.

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She said, “I am delighted to take this opportunity to get behind the appeal and help raise awareness and funds for the MRI scanner which will improve patient experience and the environment and more importantly the diagnostics and outcomes for local people.

“As a local resident, councillor and Trust governor, I am keen to play an active role in helping to raise funds to support the purchase of this much needed equipment.

“I encourage everyone to get involved either by making a donation or running a fundraising event – after all we never know when we or a loved one might need an MRI.”

Dr Loney said the scanners are particularly good at looking at soft tissues and advances in technology mean they can now help diagnose cancer, heart conditions and other health issues.

She added: “Scans can give doctors information that previously required the patient to undergo surgery or another invasive procedure as part of the investigation of their symptoms. Crucially, MRI scanners don’t use radiation, unlike x-rays.”

Dr Loney said the number of patients having an MRI scan had increased by 11 per cent in the last year and now patients can even bring their own music to listen to.

“An MRI scanner is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment a hospital will ever purchase and with the NHS facing huge financial challenges we need to seek public help in buying them,” she said. “We’d love the whole community, including individuals, companies, schools, sports clubs, to support us by holding events such as coffee mornings, cake sales and sponsored activities in aid of the Scanner Appeal. Every pound counts. After all, you never know when you or a loved one might need a scan.”

To make a donation or for more information visit justgiving.com/cddft ring 01325-743786 or email cddft.charity@nhs.net

Cheques made payable to Co Durham & Darlington NHS FT Charity, can also be sent to: Cashiers, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Hollyhurst Road, Darlington, DL3 6HX or text SCAN02 £10 to 70070.