New MRI facility “really smart” says first patient

The first patient has been seen at the new £900,000 MRI facility at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet (formally Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre), and he has declared it to be “really smart” and the MRI team “very friendly”.

James Harmer, 20, from Templecombe was involved in a motorcycle accident which caused considerable damage to his right knee. His doctor initially recommended physiotherapy, but when this did not help he went to a knee specialist who referred him for an MRI at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet.

“I really wanted to know what was going on with my knee,” said James. “Before my accident I was thinking about joining the Army, and I wanted to make sure that the damage to my knee would not stop me.”

The MRI scan revealed that James had a bruised bone. He is now building up his fitness so that he can fulfil his dream of joining the Army.

James was the first patient to use the new MRI facility at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet. He said: “It was really smart, very clean and everyone was very friendly – I can commend them on that. Anyone due for an MRI at Shepton Mallet shouldn’t worry. It’s not stressful and they play music to cover the noise from the machine. It may look daunting but it’s very comfortable.”

The new MRI facility at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet includes features such as silent scanning (beneficial to anxious patients who may find the noise of an MRI scan distressing) and a fast scan option which takes images in a multi-sequence action which speeds up scanning for patients suffering from claustrophobia. Varied magnetic coil options mean that it will be easier to scan a patient in a position which is most comfortable for them.

It will also reduce the scan time by between five and 10 per cent, allowing the radiography team to scan a patient every 20 minutes. Historically some 12 to 15 patients could be scanned a day – the new facility will allow the team to scan more than 20.

As well as the £900,000 investment in MRI, Practice Plus Group (which runs Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet) has financed new ultrasound equipment and a C-arm X-ray machine for use in theatres at the hospital – bringing the total investment in state-of-the-art diagnostic technology to over £1 million.

Chester Barnes, then Hospital Director at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet, commented: “We were delighted to welcome James as the first patient at our new MRI facility and we are pleased that it resulted in a diagnosis which can help him with his dream to join the Army. Our investment in the very latest diagnostic imaging equipment emphasises our commitment to providing our patients with outstanding service and care. It also represents a commitment to the local NHS community of which we are a proud member. Being able to provide assurance of accurate imaging in the longer-term means that we can ensure our patients receive the treatment which achieves the best results for them.”

Learn more about our new MRI facility.