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Home > News > Increased Access to Cancer Diagnostic Scans in North Cumbria

Increased Access to Cancer Diagnostic Scans in North Cumbria

Posted on Wednesday 25th November 2015
pet ct

Staff from Alliance Medical with the new mobile PET-CT scanner. L-R – Gisel Fonseca, Theresa Gibson and Jennifer Edy.

Patients from across North Cumbria will now be able to access a PET-CT diagnostic scanning service in Carlisle, rather than having to travel to Preston.

A collaborative network led by medical imaging provider Alliance Medical has been selected to provide vital diagnostic scans in cancer care in North Cumbria, following a competitive tender process.

The Collaborative Network, led by Alliance Medical and involving The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, local NHS providers. charitable providers and a number of leading academic institutions, will provide ‘positron emission tomography-computed tomography’ (PET-CT) scanning services at 30 locations across England, including the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, as part of a 10-year contract.

Alliance Medical will invest over £80 million over the life of the contract to improve the current infrastructure, including a commitment to move away from mobile services towards sustainable, high-quality static sites. The new contract is also increasing the number of sites at which PET-CT services are delivered.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is delighted to be delivering this much- needed service to patients in the local area. In addition to scanning services, the Collaborative Network will also provide training and education for technologists and radiographers through a School of Oncology hosted by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust while also supporting an increase in the number of clinical research trials.

Commenting on the decision Guy Blomfield, group chief executive at Alliance Medical Group, said: “It is a privilege to be part of a consortium of the highest quality healthcare and academic institutions and to be selected to provide PET-CT imaging services in England. We strongly believe that by providing better access to PET-CT and improving the current pathway, we can support NHS England’s objective of improving cancer survival rates. While it is important to provide a service that is fit for purpose now, we have also made a commitment to NHS England to work with, among others, the Clinical Reference Group to evaluate emerging technologies and radioactive tracers so that evidence-based decisions on service developments can be made.”

Dr Jon Berry, consultant radiologist and clinical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals, said: “We are delighted to have this investment to improve the PET-CT scanning service for our patients, meaning they will no longer have to travel to Preston for these scans. We are sure being part of the Collaborative Network will be of great benefit not only to patients but also to our staff, with the exciting training and educational opportunities it will bring.

“Ultimately, as the service expands, the aim is to establish a static scanner at the Cumberland Infirmary which will further improve patient access and open up the opportunity to be involved in research studies as well.”

A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan into one to give more detailed information about a patient’s disease. A CT scan takes a series of X-rays from all around the body and uses a computer to put them together. A PET scan uses a very small amount of radioactive drug to show how body tissues are working.

A PET-CT scan uses X-rays to take pictures of the structures of the body and, at the same time, a mildly radioactive drug shows up areas where the cells are more active than normal. The scanner combines both of these types of information, allowing doctors to see any changes in the activity of cells and know exactly where the changes are happening.