Fears for the future of hospital’s scanners

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DOUBTS have been raised about the future of the scanners at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.

Currently there are both CT and MRI scanners available on the Hillfield Road site to help doctors diagnose problems – but they are reaching the end of their lives.

The CT scanner – which is ‘breaking down up to three times a week’ – needs to be replaced within a year and the MRI within 24 months.

But health chiefs are still deciding whether to rebuild or refurbish the hospital, with a ‘deliverable outcome within the next two to three years’.

Minutes from West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust’s Integrated Risk and Governance Committee in March say: “The CT scanner in Hemel Hempstead General Hospital is not sustainable as the equipment is breaking down up to three times a week and is now past its sell-by date and is posing an increased risk.”

Betty Harris, chairman of Dacorum Hospital Action Group, said if the scanners are not replaced patients faced a trip to Watford.

“If they’re going to replace the scanner within 12 months they will have problems with where to site it,” she said. “They did promise diagnostics in Hemel Hempstead and for me scanners are part of diagnostics. It’s about convenience for patients.”

In a statement the trust said: “The major imaging equipment will require replacing. As with all significant financial investments, there is a legal obligation to ensure that best value for money is achieved. When replacing equipment the trust will always consider the most appropriate location to ensure the most efficient and effective service is provided for all patients in west Hertfordshire.

“The trust is committed to providing a full range of diagnostic services on the non-acute hospital sites.”