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TOON star Rob Elliot joined patients at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary as the hospital unveiled its new and improved neuroradiology department.

The Newcastle United goalie officially opened the extended and remodelled suite, which has been furnished with a brand new MRI scanner.

It joins the department's current 3T MRI scanner which has been vastly enhanced with powerful, state-of-theart technology.

The new and upgraded scanners follow a PS1m investment in the Trust's neuroradiology services.

In addition to its new wide design - which is great news for claustrophobic patients - each scanner now has additional features including 'skyinsidelights' on ceilings and DVD players allowing people to watch films during their scan.

The enhancements were made possible thanks to generous donations from the Northern Brainwave Appeal and the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity.

Dr Johann du Plessis, consultant neuroradiologist said: "We have added a new MRI scanner to the unit which means we are now able to provide significantly more scanning time per week which will help us to provide a better service for our patients."

The specialist service treats children and adults with all forms of neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and epilepsy, as well as the effects of strokes. The refurbishment of the department includes a number of features aimed at keeping patients relaxed during their scan.

Lisa Flett, neuroradiology manager, said: "Our team has worked hard over the last year to create an efficient, comfortable and relaxing environment. "An MRI scan can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes and patients have to remain very still for the whole time. This can sometimes be difficult, especially for our younger patients."

Lisa added: "Previously the majority of patients under the age of 10 would have general anaesthesia to enable them to have a diagnostic scan. With the support of the Trust's play specialists and the introduction of the DVD equipment and the 'skyinside' ceiling tiles we have been able to successfully scan a large number of children over four years of age without the need for general anaesthetic."

The staff have seen children bring in the latest films such as Trolls and the Good Dinosaur, and adults are happy to watch naturally relaxing and absorbing programmes such as Planet Earth. Wearing headphones also reduces the sound of the MRI scanner during the scanning process.

The scanners also have the ability to light up in different colours which the patient can choose before they go in for their scan.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2017
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