ALMOST half a million has been spent by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust on upgrading ten ultrasound machines that can offer faster and more efficient imaging for patients in need across the county.

And, thanks to money raised by the Scannappeal charity, another specialist scanning machine has been bought for the rheumatology clinics.

Each year, the Trust says it carries out over 90,000 ultrasound examinations, a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body, such as the heart, and almost half of those are carried out on ten ultrasound machines that have now been replaced and upgraded with new, modern technology.

Jane Barrow, general manager for radiology, said: "By providing the best in diagnostic imaging technologies at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals, we can provide images of a much greater quality. This will enable our staff to provide more accurate results, reducing delays in diagnosis, the need for repeat appointments and waiting times for additional examinations."

In total, the Trust purchased ten ultrasound machines from GE Healthcare and, thanks to public fundraising through the Scannappeal charity, an additional machine was purchased to perform musculoskeletal ultrasound in the rheumatology clinics at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

"This is one of the many small projects we fund each year, as well as our major appeals, and in the last year nearly 100,000 patients have benefited from using this equipment and the other items we have funded in the past," said Amanda Martin, Director of Scannappeal.

The new machine will support rheumatologists to detect joint inflammation and damage as early as possible.

"Previously, patients who required joint ultrasound were referred to the radiology department, with a scanning appointment at a later date. Thanks to fundraising from Scannappeal, we are now able to offer patients a one-stop service as ultrasounds can be completed on the same day as the initial appointment, allowing us to begin appropriate treatment swiftly," said Dr Chetan Narshi, consultant rheumatologist at the Trust.