"No funding and no availability for an open MRI scanner in Lincolnshire"

About: Leicestershire and Lincolnshire Lincoln County Hospital / X-ray and Scans NHS Lincolnshire East CCG Pilgrim Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Pilgrim Hospital / X-ray and Scans

(as the patient),

My orthopaedic surgeon has been trying to get me an MRI scan since January. Because I suffer with claustrophobia it needs to be an open scanner.

Although he has found hospitals willing to carry out this treatment, he has been unable to obtain funding to pay for this as no scanner is available within Lincolnshire. I have now had to make an appointment with my own GP to get a referral to a back specialist (again out of Lincolnshire) as there is no back specialist available within the county in the hope he can arrange an MRI scan.

I need my hip replacing as it is now worn out but can't get this done until after an MRI scan. Two extra doctors are having to get involved at a greater cost than an MRI scan which seems ridiculous.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for leaving us your feedback.

I have spoken to the Radiology Manager who has confirmed that there is no open scanners in Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Sheffield or Leicester. Open scanners are generally either of poor quality or very expensive. They don’t always help in claustrophobic patients either. He cannot understand why your surgeon is encountering problems with funding. We send many patients over to London or Leeds where there are open scanners and the Trust is invoiced for the scans. Sheffield do offer a service under general anaesthetic but patients are usually required to “try” to have the scan first as they found that 90% of patients who are claustrophobic do actually manage the scan, with a little help and support from the radiographers.

With regard to spinal services in Lincolnshire, in September 2010 a collaborative decision was taken by senior clinicians and managers within United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and the then NHS Lincolnshire to suspend the current spinal service and refer spinal outpatient appointments to alternative providers to ensure effective, timely clinical management of patients and currently there are no plans to re-introduce the service.