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MRI scanner to be installed at Stratford's new hospital

A £2million MRI scanner and a new Health and Wellbeing Hub are set to be installed at Stratford’s new hospital when it opens next year.

The MRI scanner, which will hopefully be accompanied by further diagnostic equipment in the future, will be situated on the ground floor of the new building.

Paid for by the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, the addition of the MRI scanner means patients will no longer have to travel to Warwick for a scan.

The health and wellbeing hub, the first in South Warwickshire, is set to be trailed at the new hospital before potentially being rolled out across the area.

The new hub, which will act like a Citizens Advice Bureau for health issues soon after the new building opens its doors next spring.

The idea is in line with the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s new strategy which includes a focus on preventing people from getting ill before they need to seek treatment.

The hub will offer advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while for those who are suffering from illness, it inform them about what help and support is available.

A number of volunteer groups will be involved, with the trust keen to build partnerships with groups and organisations in the area.

Glen Burley, chief executive of the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Two weeks ago we adopted our new strategy at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust which puts patients right at the heart of what we do, whilst taking a preventative approach to illness to help people stay healthy. We are the National Health Service and I think we’ve got to be careful not to just become the national illness service.

“We will trial our first Health and Wellbeing Hub in Stratford, and hopefully we will roll these out across the area if it proves successful.”

With the Stratford Cancer and Eye Hospital continuing to raise thousands to enhance facilities at the new hospital, there is growing excitement in the town that Stratford will become a centre of excellence for the treatment of cancer and eye conditions.

Jayne Blacklay, director of development at Stratford Hospital, said: “The biggest challenge we have faced has been continuing to operate the old hospital at the same time as building the new one, it’s not a big site, but we’ve managed to do it very well.

“The new cancer hospital is essential because at the moment Warwick is full to capacity. Almost 50% of cancer patients at Warwick come from the Stratford area and we have found that there is a lower uptake of chemotherapy treatment from these people, often because they have to travel from rural areas. We are aiming to create a centre of excellence for cancer care in Stratford, using all the knowledge we have picked up from running the Aylesford Unit in Warwick. This service will really help the people of Stratford.

“The addition of an MRI scanner is a real boost for Stratford. So much has changed in recent years, before many operations doctors will want to take a preliminary look using an MRI scanner. At the moment the nearest scanner is in Warwick.

“The end of the first phase of this project will be the completion of the main hospital building but further phases could include the addition of more diagnostic services, endoscopy services, while the final phase will be moving services out of the old hospital and into the new one.”

The Trust has also re-launched its website in recent weeks, providing education and guidance on a range of health issues.

For more information visit www.swft.nhs.uk.

Mr Burley added: “I am very excited to be launching our new strategy and website. As a local healthcare provider I feel we have a clear responsibility to support local people to improve their health and wellbeing. Whilst hospitals will always be an important part of the local NHS, we want to promote a ‘home first’ attitude, using the combined skills of all partner organisations to keep people healthy and to support them to live normal lives.”

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