PROPOSALS to boost MRI facilities at a major hospital site in County Durham have been given the go-ahead.

In July, health bosses lodged a bid with Durham County Council to boost the MRI department at the University Hospital of North Durham.

This included a revamped MRI scanner room with associated facilities including an external mechanical plant, air handling unit, heat pumps and changes to an access door.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) lodged the bid to make way for one of three new MRI scanners being rolled out across the North East.

Other hospitals set to benefit include Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital.

Following consultation, the plans for North Durham were given the go-ahead by Durham County Council. A report concluded that external works were “in keeping with the existing hospital building and acceptable in principle.”

A spokesman for the health trust welcomed the decision.

He said: “Advances in technology mean that MRI scans can play an important part in helping our consultants diagnose and determine treatment plans for what can be life threatening or life limiting conditions, including many types of cancer and heart disease.

“We recently purchased new MRI scanners for Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital, in part thanks to a fundraising campaign by our charity.

“We will also have a new MRI scanner installed  at University Hospital of North Durham by the end of the year.

“This is part of our £40 million investment over the next 14 years which will see the replacement of all radiology equipment across our sites.

“Some equipment will even be replaced more than once to ensure our patients have access to the best and most up to date imaging which in turn will  improve patient  care and experience.”