Community hospital gets state-of-the-art x-ray unit

8th August 2017

South Hams X-Ray

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, far right, and Colin Pincombe, chair of South Hams Hospital League of Friends, second from left, at the official opening of the hospital’s new x-ray unit, with senior radiographer Sonia Boulden, and deputy locality manager for Livewell Southwest Lewis Bell.

A state-of-the-art x-ray unit representing £245,000 investment in a local community hospital was officially opened by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP at a launch ceremony on Thursday, 3 August.

New equipment at South Hams Hospital, Kingsbridge, replaces an outdated machine which was beyond repair and Livewell Southwest, which runs the hospital, took the opportunity to redesign and improve the department during a 12-week installation.

The machine uses the latest imaging technology and is quicker, enabling more patients to be seen and reducing the need for patients to travel to Derriford for routine appointments. On average 400 patients a month now attend South Hams for x-rays, an increase of 25 per cent since it went into service in June.

South Hams Hospital League of Friends donated half the cost of the machine and refurbishment of the department and at the launch event, chairman Colin Pincombe said: “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to this latest development at South Hams Hospital. As ever, the community was keen to support the fundraising and we are grateful to everyone who helped us to achieve this. It will be a great asset to the community.”

Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and chair of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee, welcomed the investment by the Friends and Livewell Southwest and praised the local community for its continuing support of the local hospital.

Sonia Boulden, senior radiographer at South Hams, said: “The new unit makes the whole experience much better for patients. It is a quicker process, the dose of radiation is smaller, and the machine has a lot more manoeuvrability which is important when you are dealing with less mobile patients who have hip issues, for instance. If they can’t move, the machine can. I can even x-ray people standing up.”

The service is available to people attending the minor injuries unit at South Hams Hospital, primary care referrals, outpatient referrals and inpatients at the hospital.

Sonia said: “We generally see patients the day they are referred, or the following day. We don’t have lengthy waiting times, and for many people it’s much quicker and simpler to come here than get to an acute hospital. We’re hoping lots more people will choose to come here and benefit from the service we offer now.”

Steve Waite, chief executive of Livewell Southwest, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to improve and update the x-ray facilities at this site, and thanks to the generosity of the League of Friends, we were able to take the opportunity to enhance the whole department.

“Many more patients will be able to be seen here now, avoiding a trip to Derriford, thanks to the installation of this state-of-the-art kit.”