Dept of Health video highlights NNUH radiology expertise

A new video has been produced by the Department of Health that highlights best practice in hi-tech brain scanning and acute stroke services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The video features lead NNUH radiographer for CT scanning, Chris West, and Dr Kneale Metcalf, consultant stroke physician, and outlines how acute stroke services have been redesigned and improved around faster access to CT brain scans.

The video forms part of the NHS Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) programme and is being used to help other NHS hospitals understand more about improving the quality and productivity of such services.

At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital fast access to CT scans is essential for patients who have had a stroke caused by a blood clot (an ischaemic stroke). The CT scan allows doctors to diagnose the type of stroke and to administer clot busting drugs (thrombolysis) in good time.

Radiographers have played a central role in redesigning services to make them more productive and improve patient care. A key development at NNUH has been the work done by allied health professionals to develop the use of radiology assistants who prepare patients for radiology scans and look after them.

That role used to be undertaken by radiographers who are highly trained and skilled in taking diagnostic images and the development of radiology assistants at NNUH has allowed radiographers to concentrate on scanning patients and improving productivity.

Chris West said: “As allied health professionals we are in a really good position to influence the way patients are treated because we are right at the centre of a patient’s care pathway. We know what works well, and what doesn’t. We can identify where the constraints are and then unlock them to deliver a better service for our patients.”

· The Radiology and Improving Stroke Services video can seen at

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is also currently investing in four new CT scanners to provide a cutting-edge diagnostic service for patients including having one of the most advanced scanners in the country – a Siemens Definition Flash.

The new scanner started running in December last year and only two other hospitals in England are equipped with such state-of-the-art- machines, which are able to scan the body at previously unimaginably fast speeds. It means patients could soon undergo a CT scan to pick up cancers and signs of cardiac disease that would only normally be detected by more invasive tests.

The installation of another two new CT machines are due to take place in 2010 and the fourth new CT scanner in 2011. The new scanners are part of a five-year strategy to meet the diagnostic imaging needs of the people of Norfolk. Three of the new machines will be ready by the end of April, while the fourth will be installed later in the year.

A new stroke thrombolysis service was first introduced at NNUH in December 2008 and became a 24/7 service in June 2009. The acute stroke unit on Gunthorpe ward has also introduced a hyper-acute monitoring service and a new 24-bed stroke rehab unit opened at the Norwich Community Hospital earlier this month.

Notes for editors

• CT (computerised tomography) scanners rotate around the body, building up high-definition X-ray images through a series of “slices”.

Monday 1st of February 2010 10:00:58 AM