The Christie’s new cutting-edge MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) suite will provide patients with the latest in image-guided scanning technology. The suite houses three new scanners – two 1.5T (tesla) scanners and a powerful 3T scanner which was funded by £1.65m in donations to The Christie charity.
Pick Everard has project managed the delivery of the unit for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. The scanner project posed many challenges with the unit needing to be built within a live hospital environment.
Jon Parry, Regional Director at Pick Everard, said: “This has been a highly technical project due to the scanners requiring a specialised, precise environment to operate in.
“The existing ward building is over 80 years old, so it required careful project management to bring about a fit-for-purpose facility which will serve both patients and employees. The new facility will provide increased scanning capacity and a much improved patient environment. The enhanced interior design features will also help to make time spent in the unit as relaxing as possible for patients.”
The project involved major refurbishments and alterations to the existing ward and a new-build extension to create the new scanner bunker.
The facility accommodates three scanners – two 1.5T scanners and one 3T scanner. The scheme also includes the option for a fourth scanner to be added in the future.
The 3T scanner offers ultra-high resolution and its powerful magnification can capture exceptional amounts of detail. All three scanners are more spacious, allowing patients who suffer from claustrophobia to be scanned and it has upgradeable software, meaning it won’t need to be replaced for a decade.
It is expected that around 7700 NHS scans will be completed in the department by the end of 2017 with that figure rising to 10,000 within a couple of years.
Pick Everard was also commissioned to manage the technical coordination of the mechanical and electrical requirements of the Faraday cage and scanner providers. The Faraday cage isolates the scanner from external interference and prevents the radio frequencies produced by the scanner from interfering with monitoring equipment.
When operational, all services within the scanner room must pass through filters to maintain the integrity of the cage.
Benefits for all
Dr Prakash Manoharan, The Christie’s Consultant Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine Physician, said the new scanners would greatly enhance the scanning of cancer patients and give doctors a better insight into disease processes. He commented: “Many thousands of people are going to benefit from this facility immediately.
“Our patients will have access to the best and most up-to-date imaging technology. The additional 3T machine will propel our imaging capabilities to a ‘state-of-the-art’ onco-MRI department.”
The new unit has been designed around the four seasons, with each one of the four scanner rooms signifying a different time of the year. Each room is equipped with a full-spectrum, colour-changing LED lighting system which patients can control and which the designers believe helps to lower anxiety levels. As well as the scanning rooms, the building also has counselling facilities, an interview room and a number of clinical and administrative areas.
Dr Manoharan said the relaxing aesthetics of the new department were important, not only to patients but to staff working there as well.
“The sense of space and the amount of natural light coming in was important and was one of the things we worked closely with the designers on,” he said.
David Nisbet, Partner at Pick Everard, added: “We have considerable experience in the healthcare sector and this project necessitated vigilant project management to manage the high levels of coordination between design team, contractor and specialist suppliers.
“We are delighted to have achieved this for the NHS Trust and to have developed a facility which will help to deliver an exceptional service for its patients.”
The contractor carrying out the works was City Build Manchester with the work being delivered under the Christie Framework.