Scan-tastic! First patient uses new MRI suite at Louth County Hospital

The first patients have been able to have their scans at the new £850,000 MRI suite at Louth hospital.
The first patient, 29-year-old beauty therapist Sophie Billingham from Louth, prepares for her MRI scan.The first patient, 29-year-old beauty therapist Sophie Billingham from Louth, prepares for her MRI scan.
The first patient, 29-year-old beauty therapist Sophie Billingham from Louth, prepares for her MRI scan.

After many years of working together, fundraisers and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) have welcomed the opening of the new suite, even though the official unveiling has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beauty therapist Sophie Billingham, 29, from Louth, was the first patient to have a scan in the new suite.

The mum of two said: “I have been having headaches for the last four weeks.

Sophie with some flowers and chocolates from Superintendent MRI Radiographer Fay Keegans (left) and MRI Radiographer Sally May (middle).Sophie with some flowers and chocolates from Superintendent MRI Radiographer Fay Keegans (left) and MRI Radiographer Sally May (middle).
Sophie with some flowers and chocolates from Superintendent MRI Radiographer Fay Keegans (left) and MRI Radiographer Sally May (middle).

“To be able to pop up the road to Louth hospital for a scan to investigate what is going on has been amazing.

“It has saved me a lot of stress and worry, and has made arranging childcare so much easier. The building is really nice and welcoming and the staff are lovely. I really cannot fault the service at all.

“It feels even more special because you know all of the effort and fundraising that has been put in by the people of Louth and the nearby villages.”

Superintendent MRI radiographer Fay Keegans is part of the new team working at Louth, and joined MRI radiographer Sally May in presenting Sophie with flowers and chocolates.

The MRI team at LouthThe MRI team at Louth
The MRI team at Louth

Speaking last week, Fay said: “The whole team has been so excited and looking forward to today.

“We have all been really looking forward to providing this service for the people of Louth and the surrounding villages.

“It is especially amazing that the people of Louth and the surrounding area have raised so much money to help make this a reality.”

Former councillor and chairman of the Louth Scanner Appeal, Trevor Marris, started the appeal back in 2004 while serving as the Mayor of Louth.

He said: “This really is a momentous day in our appeal even if we weren’t able to be there to have the official opening due to the lockdown.

“Thanks to the generosity and support of the people of Louth and the surrounding area, around 8,000 patients a year like Sophie will no longer have to travel to other hospitals to get the scans they need. This really is the news we have all been waiting for. Our dream has become a reality.”

The new MRI suite is at the front of the hospital grounds and the scanner will provide much more detailed and faster scans. It will also help to improve cancer treatment as patients can be scanned earlier, leading to a quicker diagnosis and being able to start treatment sooner.

Chris Bilton, ULHT’s MRI service lead, said: “Seeing the suite being transformed has been amazing. We couldn’t have done it without the appeal and the support it has 
received from local people.

“The official opening has had to be postponed which is a shame, but we can still open the doors and scan patients from Louth and the surrounding area.”