Group of children from the RESPECT Programme

Sheffield based basketball-led initiative for young people will further focus on the health benefits of increased physical activity on body and mind

Amid soaring rates of mental health issues in under 18-year-olds, Canon Medical Systems UK has renewed its links to unique community outreach initiatives for young people in disadvantaged areas of Sheffield.

In association with the professional basketball team Sheffield Sharks, the RESPECT programme will receive renewed funding for three years to support its citizenship workshops and sports sessions designed to lift young people out of a cycle of negative behaviours and attitudes. Sheffield Hatters, a semi-professional female basketball team run by volunteers, has also had a three-year funding extension from Canon Medical Systems UK to support its role-modelling initiative for local young women. Both teams have moved into a new permanent home at the Canon Medical Arena, at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park which opened in October.

“It is well known that physical health problems increase the risk of poor mental health and vice versa,” states Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK. “With mental health care referrals in young people increasing by 39% in the last year, putting even more pressure onto our finite healthcare services, it is our responsibility as an NHS supplier to keep putting something extra back into the community. This year we have seen a new chapter in Sheffield with the opening of the Canon Medical Arena, a multi-purpose sports facility and integrated Medical Diagnostic Centre under one roof. It is also the basketball home for Sheffield Hatters, Sheffield Sharks and the RESPECT initiative. It provides dedicated classrooms and on-site basketball courts to really take the aims of the outreach projects to the next level. If we can make a difference to young people and give them belief that they can achieve more in life, it is worth doing.”

Marko Backovic, Head of Community at the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks Basketball Club states, “Greater investment in RESPECT means that we will have extra time and resources to expand the scheme to more young people over the next three years. This is really important as the next cohort of 9–11-year-olds are the Covid-lockdown generation who had their development and routine when starting primary school interrupted by the Covid pandemic. We’re already seeing a difference in the social interactions of younger children from when we first start with the initiative and coax them out of their shells. Having our first permanent home for the initiative at the Canon Medical Arena in Attercliffe, an economically deprived area of Sheffield where many of our school families live, will also breathe new life into the community. A modern and tech-heavy Arena on the doorstep will help catapult aspiration in the area and really give local people something they can be proud of.”

Marko Backovic adds, “Many of the schools we support with the RESPECT programme are only able to provide the minimum 1-2 hours mandatory PE lessons per week. We can add to this with our basketball play workshops and amplify how sport and exercise can create feelings of wellbeing to improve mental health. For example, in our anger management sessions for young people we discuss feelings before and after sport to highlight that physical exercise can release hormones such as endorphins to lower stress and improve mood. This helps many more young people get more involved in playing sport to avoid hanging out on the streets and increase activity for positive physical and mental health.”

The long-term relationship between Sheffield Sharks RESPECT initiative and Canon Medical Systems UK began in 2018 and has grown in success in reaching increasing numbers of primary and secondary school children. The courses are designed to support education and life skills such as physical activity and exercise through basketball, anger management, smoking or vaping health education and online safety.

Sheffield Hatters Basketball Club has been a pioneer in women’s sport since its inception as the first female basketball team over 60 years ago. It is the most successful basketball team in the UK with over 65 titles with both players and coaches going on to represent Great Britain and England on the international stage. Canon Medical Systems UK has supported the club’s community programme for girls and women aged 6 to 60 since 2022.

Christie PAE Alphenix

The clinical operational and financial healthcare benefits unlocked by 360° ergonomic access of Sky+

Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE), a non-surgical procedure using interventional imaging systems to shrink an enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), is gaining momentum. Informed patients are requesting PAE due to the lower complication risk of alternative invasive options, and busy NHS hospitals are seizing the opportunities of freeing up beds, lowering cost per treatments and cost per patient stay.

Traditionally, BPH patients would be referred by an urologist for a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), a surgical procedure that involved cutting away a section of the prostate. This would involve a general or spinal anaesthesia and a 2–3 day recovery stay in hospital.

Today, hospitals such as The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, have protocolised same day, minimally invasive PAE using Interventional Radiology (IR). This is helping to free up hospital beds and enable patients to get back to their normal daily lives quicker.

A simple switch from left to right-sided patient access

“Studies have proven Prostate Artery Embolization, PAE, has similar outcomes to TURP. Patients now have the option of a minimally invasive alternative which would favour those who are not suitable for or prefer not to have invasive surgical treatment” states Dr Pavan Najran, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. “An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy) is a common problem for men who suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms which can be debilitating. Men now actively seek alternative treatment options which includes PAE to help resolve such severe symptoms.”

“The shift to same-day treatments was accelerated during the Covid years as we had to limit the use of inpatient beds. PAE was protocolised as a day case with discharge of patients the same day. This was made possible by having a ceiling-mounted interventional imaging system giving us the ergonomic flexibility to switch to transradial access (TRA) via the patient’s wrist on the left side rather than transfemoral access (TFA) via the groin on the right. TRA is known to have fewer complications at the access site and is more comfortable for the patient, so it aided the confidence in decision making to speed up our discharge rates.”

Dr Pavan Najran, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Najran continues, “It sounds like a small point when focusing on big clinical issues, image quality and low dose, but the ergonomics of an IR system are essential. You need to be able to walk 360 degrees around your patient or swing the C-arm around. Floor mounted or fixed robotic systems create physical barriers to getting to the top end of the patient to place jugular lines or orientate larger teams in a small space.”

The importance of high image quality & low dose management

PAE is typically a two-hour procedure involving an interventionist and radiographer technician team. Image quality for navigation accuracy and decision certainty is vital, as is a dose management system to safeguard the patient throughout the procedure and control cumulative dose management for clinical operators.

Dr Najran explains, “Cone Beam CT is essential for PAE as we need to confirm vessel certainty in supplying the prostate. Traditional angiography in this region isn’t conclusive as there are small vessels that you may not identify on an Anterior Posterior, AP-image. Therefore, Cone Beam CT on the IR system can identify very small vessel branches that supply areas at the base of the penis, bladder or rectum. This insight helps with decision making to either embolise or identify an alternative embolization point.”

“Dose reduction is also essential to manage the cumulative dose for the operators working in the room. We need to conserve the dose as much as possible and it was one of the factors in our system selection,” he adds.

Alphenix Canon MedicalAlphenix Canon Medical

An imaging partnership putting patient needs first

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe treating more than 60,000 patients a year. Based in Manchester, it serves a population of 3.2 million people across Greater Manchester and Cheshire with a quarter more patients also referred from across the UK.

“As a cancer centre we try and promote a relaxed atmosphere with a holistic philosophy to reduce the anxiety patients may potentially feel. Whilst the PAE procedures are for benign conditions, it is still our aim to provide the highest level of choice and a calm environment. Canon Medical worked closely with us at the start of our PAE journey, it helped us gain timing accuracy for contrast delivery with the Cone Beam CT. This resulted in defining a PAE protocol,” explains Dr Najran.

Interventional radiology is a catalyst for expanding future patient treatment

Expansion of patient services continues. New services treating liver cancer have recently been introduced using the IR system. An example of this includes Chemosaturation procedure which is a complex treatment involving cardiac bypass and administering high-dose chemotherapy directly into the hepatic artery with systemic circulation isolation.

Dr Najran concludes, “Delivering innovative procedures for patients is a key goal for the interventional department at The Christie Hospital. Ergonomic space saving ceiling-mounted interventional imaging equipment helps us deliver personnel heavy procedures allowing us to have up to 14 essential people in the IR suite including – interventionists, cardiac perfusionists, anaesthetists, radiographers and nurses.”

It’s exciting times for interventional imaging. Evolving innovations in image quality, dose and system ergonomics are helping to broaden the range of procedures that focus on minimal invasion. This improves the patient experience and reduces overall cost of treatment, ticking all the boxes of improving quality of care.

Interventional Radiology – Innovations helping to minimise invasive surgical procedures

Interventional Radiology (IR) refers to a range of techniques which rely on the use of radiological image guidance to precisely target therapy. This can include X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT or MRI. Most IR treatments are minimally invasive alternatives to open and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.[i]

The continued tide of innovation in IR is helping to evolve traditional surgical options by providing alternatives that are less invasive plus speed up procedural and recovery times for patients. Across the clinical specialities, from oncology, cardiology, neurology or urology, there are IR solutions designed to support in the cath lab, hybrid suite or operating room.

Floor and ceiling mounted C-arms support complex interventional procedures with an unprecedented range of patient access and full-body coverage from head-to-toe and fingertip-to-fingertip.

Built-in planning tools allow for quick and intuitive analysis prior to procedures and enable navigation with confidence and accuracy. For example, 3D volume data functionality helps select a tumour and define corresponding feeding vessels with information overlaid to be viewed live during fluoro of the procedure. Visualisation of contrast media helps correspond to arterial, venal and capillary blood flow providing valuable insight in identification or hepatic tumour feeding vessels.

Dose and noise reduction innovations help with creating clinical confidence and patient care. For example, noise reduction technology – to reduce unwanted changes in pixel values – provides cleaner, sharper, more defined images during stent placement, embolisation or ablation procedures at the same time as minimising dose. Dose management tools are also key in modern IR. Advanced hardware significantly reduces patient dose and scatter radiation offering greater protection for the patent and clinical staff. Real-time software tools help further eliminate unnecessary exposure to minimise dose and improve workflow.

Dan Parr, Imaging Systems Business Manager CT/MR/VL/XR/HIT at Canon Medical Systems UK explains, “Our leading IR systems feature a unique ‘Dose Tracking System’ that tracks X-ray beam movement and provides real-time feedback on skin dose information, mapping it visually as a simple, colour-coded visual on the system interface. This advanced warning system gives quick and easy-to-see alerts to operators to adjust C-arm angulation, frame rate settings and collimation to reduce skin dose. This is especially useful to operators undertaking long procedures to avoid regions where dose thresholds have been exceeded. Evaluations suggest the potential for a 50% dose reduction to patients when compared to replaced systems and UK National Diagnostic Reference Levels (NDRLs).”

“The opportunity for IR to support surgical teams and broaden the range of patient services that can be undertaken more minimally is really exciting,” Dan Parr concludes. “There are increasing pressures facing healthcare today from growing numbers of patients and waiting lists. So, by seeking out new ways of working, protocolising same day procedures and bringing in imaging tools that can streamline workflow and bolster clinical confidence is a solid idea. This will not only benefit patient care, but also deliver health economics into the long term.”

[i] British Society of Interventional Radiology,

Photo Caption 1: Interventional radiology systems are minimally invasive alternatives to open and laparoscopic surgery.

Photo Caption 2: Dr Pavan Najran, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Photo Caption 3: The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester has protocolised same day, minimally invasive PAE using Interventional Radiology.

The new development is set to improve access to preventative healthcare for the 746,000 citizens of the UK’s tenth largest city[1]

Today the city opened the doors to the UK’s first carbon-neutral built community arena with multi-purpose sports facility and integrated Medical Diagnostic Centre. The construction of the arena has been carbon offset with support from CO2Balance and the delivery of wind turbines in India, in turn creating carbon credits.

Located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Canon Medical Arena, formerly known as ‘Park Community Arena’, was built in collaboration with PCA Ltd (PCA), Sheffield Sharks and The LivingCare Group. Conveniently situated within the new 5000m² arena, the state-of-the-art Medical Diagnostic Centre is set to bring better healthcare to the local community with closer-to-home appointments, as well as serving the wider South Yorkshire region, improving access to health screening and disease prevention to those that need it most. The centre is operated by The LivingCare Group and features advanced Canon Medical imaging systems including AI-assisted CT and MRI scanners, ultrasound and digital X-ray, fluoroscopy, plus consulting rooms and a minor surgery operating theatre.

Sheffield is a city that faces considerable challenges on outcomes such as life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, educational attainment, unemployment, and housing[2]. Currently the difference in life expectancy between the best and worst off in Sheffield is 20 years, or 25 years for women, and it is estimated that 20% of deaths per annum in the city could be prevented by removing the direct cause factors of obesity, physical inactivity, and environmental pollution.[3] The unique combination of the Medical Diagnostic Centre within a community sporting and events arena, operated by PCA, not only improves the availability of healthcare to address these inequalities, but expands community access to affordable sports, education and wellbeing facilities to help people lead healthier lifestyles, and increase physical activity, further supporting a preventative approach to healthcare.

The arena is the new permanent home for professional basketball teams Sheffield Sharks and Sheffield Hatters, with 3 basket-ball courts and seating up to 2,500. The arena includes studio space and a classroom and will house the RESPECT programme, which aims to enrich the lives of young people by providing better access to sports, health education and physical activity.

The initiative also aligns with national health strategies to create ‘one-stop-shops’ for healthcare checks, scans, and tests away from hospitals to help provide additional capacity for imaging procedures and relieve waiting list backlogs associated with the Covid-era.

Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK, comments, “There are areas of inequality in the UK where wellness is still determined by socio-economic group or postcode – and this is something that needs to be addressed urgently. With Canon’s long links to charitable causes, academic partnerships, health research and development organisations in South Yorkshire, the city of Sheffield is an obvious choice to build this first-of-a kind catalyst for societal change.

The opening of the Canon Medical Arena brings the provision of healthcare and wellbeing closer to the Sheffield community, as well as supporting the NHS’ preventative aims to screen, detect, and diagnose earlier and, in doing so, aid faster rehabilitation and improve life opportunities. Identifying some conditions or diseases early can enable the prescription of lifestyle shifts, such as diet and exercise, before invasive, complicated, and costly hospital interventions are required.”

Helen White, Managing Director of The LivingCare Group, states, “We are looking forward to providing an agile and flexible approach to meet the changing requirements of the NHS in Sheffield and are delighted to be using leading-edge Canon Medical diagnostic imaging systems to achieve this. Our aim is to provide outstanding diagnostic healthcare to our patients, whilst also creating jobs and supporting the training of healthcare workforces of the future. The Canon Medical Arena, and LivingCare’s part within it, is a place that we want the city to be proud of.’’

Joining a growing portfolio of health, wellbeing, sport, education and research institutions at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Canon Medical Arena will play a key role in reshaping how healthcare and wellbeing services are provided to the community – helping the UK with ‘levelling up’ to create opportunities to address inequalities in the regions that stand to benefit most. The arena will also boost employment opportunities for the people of Sheffield and beyond.

Photo caption: Helen White, Managing Director, LivingCare, Chris Low, CEO Sheffield Legacy Park Ltd, Stephen Feldman, Medical Director and Sports Physician, LivingCare, Richard Caborn, Chair of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield Legacy Park Ltd, Atiba Lyons, Head Coach and Director, Sharks Basketball Ltd.,Sarah Backovic, Managing Director, Sharks Basketball Ltd. Mark Hitchman, Managing Director, CMSUK, John Timms, Director of PCA Ltd. and MLS Contracts Ltd., Maiko Davison, Operations and Marketing Director, CMSUK, Ian Watson, Director of Commercial Solutions, CMSUK, Yuri Matischen, Managing Director, MLS Contracts Ltd., Chairman, Sharks Basketball Ltd. and Director, PCA Ltd.,


[2] Why Sheffield is a city of opportunity to champion community change in health & wellbeing – Canon Medical Systems Ltd

[3] Why Sheffield is a city of opportunity to champion community change in health & wellbeing – Canon Medical Systems Ltd