As reported in January, the campaign to bring an MRI scanner to Louth was given a huge boost after a planning application for the new suite was submitted to East Lindsey District Council.
The plans were formally approved by planning officials at the district council yesterday (Thursday).
The suite will include the sophisticated £465,000 MRI scanner, clinical rooms, and waiting areas for both outpatients and inpatients.
An NHS spokesman said: “By working together, fundraisers and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) are making the Louth Scanner Appeal a reality for the people of the town and surrounding areas.
“Following years of fundraising across the county, the plans to renovate a former laundry building into an £850,000 state of the art MRI suite have now been approved.”
Chairman of the appeal, Trevor Marris, started fundraising back in 2004 while serving as the Mayor of Louth.
He said: “I am elated for the people of Louth that the appeal has been a success. It’s taken us many years to get where we are but we have never given up and can now say we have made it.
“The plans look great and we can expect to see the first patients using the scanner towards the end of summer.
“The appeal has been supported by people from across Lincolnshire and we are grateful for all of those who have been involved, especially the appeal committee. Without everyone’s support, this would not have been possible.”
It is expected that 8,000 patients a year from Louth and the surrounding rural areas will use the scanner at the hospital, rather than having to travel further afield.
Chris Bilton, ULHT’s MRI Service Lead, said: “The MRI suite, which will be located at the front of the hospital grounds, will be a great addition to County Hospital Louth. The scanner will provide us with 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 therefore being able to start treatment sooner.
“This is a huge step forward for the hospital, and we couldn’t have done it without the appeal and the support it has received from local people.”
The next steps for ULHT include sourcing local contractors to carry out the renovations, which are due to be completed by the end of summer.
Chair of ULHT, Elaine Baylis, said: “What a wonderful initiative for County Hospital Louth. I am very grateful to everyone who has contributed so generously to the appeal.
“This investment at the hospital will greatly improve the experience for the 8,000 patients we expect to use the scanner and I look forward to seeing an unused building on this site brought back to life.”
Councillor Pauline Watson from East Lindsey District Council also welcomed the news.
She said: “It shows the confidence the NHS has in the future of services at County Hospital, Louth.”
An official opening of the MRI suite will take place once the facility is ready.