A TWO-year appeal to fund the installation of state-of-the-art MRI scanners in two North-East hospitals has drawn to a close with hundreds of thousands of pounds donated.

The MRI Scanner Appeal was launched in aid of Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital to supply both facilities with new technology to help both patients and medical staff.

For those behind the campaign led by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT), the generosity of residents across the North-East has been "humbling", with the appeal raising a total of £750,000.

Pat Chambers, charity manager at CDDFT, said: “We’re so grateful to local people, businesses and organisations for getting behind the appeal and recognising the difference modern MRI scanners can make to patient care.

"The generosity has been humbling. For instance, several couples asked family and friends for a donation towards the appeal in lieu of ruby or golden wedding anniversary gifts – totalling over £1,000 in some cases.

"Rotary and Lions Clubs also made significant donations having held events on behalf of the appeal. A number of businesses adopted us as their ‘Charity of the Year’ for either 2017 or 2018, while others held or took part in sporting events on our behalf.

“Colleagues in the Trust also played their part with bake sales and other activities – including a number of brave souls who undertook a sky dive for us.

“The appeal raised an amazing £750,000 with the Trust providing the balance needed to buy the scanners and build a new MRI suite at Darlington Memorial Hospital, including an anaesthetic room and changing facilities.

“Philips, who supplied both scanners, graciously deferred payment whilst the appeal continued, meaning patients benefited from the new equipment sooner than would otherwise have been the case.”

MRI scans can take between 30 and 40 minutes and new scanners in Darlington and Bishop Auckland are now much more quiet and comfortable for patients, with fewer electing for sedation.

Consultant radiologist and clinical lead for the project, Dr Elizabeth Loney, said: “This advanced technology, which provides detailed and high-quality images can help reduce many such interventions, improving the patient experience."