Work begins on £4.9 million scanning facility at Doncaster Royal Infirmary

A project to build a new Computed Tomography (CT) scanner suite at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) has begun today (15 February), as representatives from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust (DCDT) and Dame Rosie Winterton MP officiated at the ceremonial groundbreaking event.

This development is a result of the acute hospitals receiving £4.9 million from the Department of Health and Social Care, which was awarded to thanks to a bid put forward by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (of which DBTH is a key member), to build the brand new facility at DRI, with additional support from DCDT to purchase an additional CT scanner.

CT scanners use X-rays to create detailed images of inside the body. The scans are carried out by specially-trained operators called radiographers and are crucial for diagnosis, guiding further tests or treatments, and are instrumental in diagnosing and monitoring conditions such as cancer.

Mr Sewa Singh, Medical Director at DBTH, said: “We are delighted to have received the funding to enable us to build this brand new, and state-of-the-art, suite at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. In the past five years, we have seen local demand for our current CT machine increase by 70%, with almost 25,000 scans undertaken in the last financial year. Once complete, the new facility will house two CT scanners, linked by a common control room, increasing the number of scans we can undertake to 36,000 a year, removing the need for a mobile CT scanner which is currently in use.”

“We believe that this will substantially benefit patients to get the right diagnosis, at the right time and with the best means available to the NHS. On behalf of DBTH, I want to extend our collective thanks to everyone at Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust and particularly to Jeannette Fish MBE, who set up the charity and was a driving force behind much of their fundraising before sadly passing away last year. The charity has been a firm friend of DBTH for almost 50 years and we have counted upon their support for many decades, and I hope we will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust has supported DBTH since the 1970s, raising more than £10 million. Starting in 1972 by donating a ‘bronchoscope’, the charity has since purchased more than 80 pieces of specialist medical equipment for DRI. Their latest project has been steadfastly fundraising for the new CT scanner at DRI, raising £500,000 to purchase the much-needed device. The charity is unique in that it has no paid fundraisers, all members are volunteers and is dependent on the donations and support of local residents, businesses and organisations.

Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, said: “‘As Patron of Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust, it is an honour to celebrate all the hard work and fundraising that they do.  The benefit the new CT suite and scanner will have for patients is tremendous with an increased capacity for CT scans of an estimated 51%.  This will go a long way in diagnosing cancer, as well as its use in urgent and emergency patients.”

Increasing CT capacity with this investment and development at Doncaster Royal Infirmary is also key to fulfilling the Trust’s Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) commitments. Work which took place last year across all partners within the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS) concluded that the number of HASU in the region should reduce from five to three, with DBTH maintaining and expanding its service. This change will increase the number of stroke patients seen within Doncaster meaning increased CT capacity is paramount in ensuring patients receive effective thrombolysis treatment.

The project to build the new CT suite began Friday 15 February and is being undertaken by Vinci Construction. The building works will take around 54 weeks to complete and, it is hoped, the facility will open in March 2020.