Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth has bought a new high-powered MRI scanner for more than £1m.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, has two new magnetic resonance imaging scanners, one of which was used for the first time yesterday.
The three-tesla (3T) machine – tesla being the unit of measurement for the strength of a magnetic field – cost £1.1m.
There are only three other hospitals with a 3T scanner in the south east – in Maidstone, Oxford and Bournemouth.
And QA had previously only had two 1.5T MRI scanners.
Lou Herron, deputy superintendent radiographer, said: ‘We’re excited to have this new machine. The stronger magnet means we get a better image.
‘This is only one of four in the region, and means it’s of massive benefit to patients in this area.’
The scanners run from 8am to 6pm five days a week, and also runs sessions at the weekends to keep up with demand.
The trust said that around 15,000 MRI scans are carried out a year, with demand rising by 15 per cent.
It is hoped the new 3T machine will be able to scan an extra 5,000 patients,
First in line was 79-year-old Betty Lawrence.
Mrs Lawrence, of Bramdean Drive, Leigh Park, said: ‘I nearly collapsed while I was shopping in Park Parade and my GP referred me to the hospital.
‘I’m very grateful for this equipment.’
MRI is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body, including the brain and spinal cord, bones and joints, internal organs, breasts and heart and blood vessels.
A second 1.5T machine will be brought into the hospital in May this year.