Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust limits COVID-19 imaging backlog due to relocatable CT installed as part of winter contingency funding

Temporary scanner helped catch up with seasonal CT backlog and arrived in time to support imaging services during COVID-19

 Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has successfully managed its CT imaging backlog during COVID-19 with the help of a Canon Medical relocatable with Aquilion Prime SP CT. The unit was installed as part of winter 2019/20 contingency funding, but also played a critical role in supporting imaging services during the pandemic.

Positioned on a disused ambulance and disabled parking bay, the relocatable unit’s main objective was to help the imaging department to clear a backlog of outpatient scans from the winter period and ensure same day care for emergency patients. This was successfully achieved, and its arrival just before the Coronavirus crisis ensured the Trust had a scanner separate from the main department for infection control purposes and defend against further backlogs in oncology referrals.

“We are a landlocked hospital with no room for further expansion of imaging facilities,” states Stuart Andrew, Lead Radiographer CT at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. “Therefore, the option of a relocatable CT in the car park seemed the perfect solution to our needs to increase scanning capacity to clear a backlog of outpatient scans from the winter period, and plan for a future CT upgrade in the main building. It has also helped us defend our imaging services from the unexpected arrival of Coronavirus by providing an additional outpatient scanner that is not directly linked to the main building.”

He continues, “We have been able to maintain our two-week urgent cancer referral targets during the COVID crisis by having the additional CT scanner and working longer hours and at weekends. This would have been far more difficult without the extra scanner.”

The Canon Medical relocatable scan unit is designed to feel like a clinical part of the hospital estate. It is a ground floor level structure with no staircases featuring changing area, control and scanning room. The units include clinical flooring, hospital grade heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plus data link connectivity to hospital systems.

“This year has shown us the need to remain agile in healthcare and to expect the unexpected,” states Joe Vincent, Commercial Solutions Manager at Canon Medical Systems UK. “Patient imaging demands, radiology workforce shortages, winter pressures and lack of space on hospital estates have long squeezed the capacity of diagnostic imaging in the UK. Now we have the added pressures of infection control and a global virus pandemic. Keeping imaging solutions responsive with the supply of relocatable or mobile CT and MRI units, are one step, alongside flexibility in terms of finance or rental solutions. Keeping responsive is critical as a key supplier to the NHS.”

Photo caption: Pictured L to R: Iain Burley, Account Manager at Canon Medical Systems UK; Sarah Guzvica, CT Clinical Lead Radiographer; Beverly Besana, Radiographer; and Stuart Andrew, Lead Radiographer CT at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.