£1.2m breast imaging upgrade complete
Patients at West Suffolk Hospital are benefitting following completion of a £1.2m project to replace analogue breast imaging equipment with state-of-the-art digital machinery.
The hospital’s two on-site mammography machines have been replaced and a third digital imaging room created to help increase capacity. West Suffolk has also taken delivery of a new digital mobile breast screening unit to provide an imaging service within the community.
The upgrade project was phased over four months to ensure that patients could continue to access screening at the hospital.
The new system will increase efficiency by providing staff with high quality images within seconds. It will also reduce the number of women who need to be called back if there are technical problems with the image. This occasionally happened at the old mobile unit, as staff needed to return the films to the hospital for processing and therefore could not check the quality of the image while the woman was still at the unit.
Ann Hills, superintendent radiographer in the breast imaging department, said: “We are really pleased that this important project to upgrade our breast imaging equipment is now complete. It represents a significant investment which will help us to provide an even better service to our patients.
“The state-of-the-art technology will allow us to produce high quality images quickly and efficiently. As part of the project, we’ve also been able to make use of our old processing room, which we no longer need, to gain a third mammography room. This will help us cater for more women as part of the government extension to the screening age.”
At the moment, women are offered breast screening within three years of their 50th birthday and at three-year intervals until the age of 70. West Suffolk is about to begin extending this range so that women will be invited within three years of their 47th birthday, with the upper age limit eventually moving to 73