New MRI scanner for NE

Douglas Craig (left) and Professor Stephen Logan in the scanning room at the Craig MRI Centre.
Douglas Craig (left) and Professor Stephen Logan in the scanning room at the Craig MRI Centre.

More patients will benefit from potentially life-saving diagnoses in the North-east after NHS Grampian took delivery of the very latest MRI scanner, following a sizeable donation by the Craig family.

The funding has enabled the health board to purchase and install a third scanner for Aberdeen which will increase the scanning capacity in NHS Grampian.

The Craig family owns the Aberdeen head-quartered global shipping and energy services firm, Craig Group.

In recognition of the support provided by the family, the area housing the scanner will be known as the Craig MRI Centre.

The late David Craig, former chairman of the group, had close ties with Dr Metcalfe, a leading heart specialist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Prior to his death, Mr Craig expressed his desire for a significant donation to be made to the health service in memory of his friend and the family feels contributing to the scanner is an apt gesture.

Existing scanners at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) and Woodend Hospital are used to diagnose patients from the North-east and the Islands. Introduction of an additional scanner featuring the latest technology at Woodend will support the development of increasingly complex imaging techniques to provide more accurate diagnoses than in the past.

MRI is crucial to the diagnosis of many conditions including spinal conditions, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, many bone and joint disorders, and some of the main cancers. MRI scanners can examine almost any part of the body to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess the effectiveness of previous care.

The technology is highly important in the imaging of children, as the growing body is more susceptible to the effects of radiation than adults. MRI uses magnets rather than radiation (as is the case in traditional x-ray machines and CT scanners). New technology in the scanner also has a ‘quiet mode’, which for the first time facilitates imaging of sleeping babies.

Douglas Craig, chairman and managing director of Craig Group said: “We were keen to make a contribution that would provide as much value and support to the community as possible. An extra scanner will allow more patients to be seen more quickly and will hopefully mean treatment for many can begin earlier.

“When it comes to health, everyone wants to be diagnosed and cured as quickly as possible and it is a privilege to be able to play a role in enhancing the services available to people in the North-east.”

It is expected that the extra scanner will also free up capacity and ease waiting times for inpatients at ARI as outpatients, and a few inpatients can be examined at the Craig MRI Centre. The scanner concerned has been chosen specifically because it is wider and shorter in dimensions so that patients can be more comfortable and feel less enclosed.

In addition, the new scanner supports more detailed images to be taken of tissue surrounding metal implants.

Professor Stephen Logan, Chairman of Grampian NHS Board, said: “This is a superb piece of equipment, the purchase of which was only possible thanks to the generosity of the Craig family. The whole organisation is very grateful to them. I also wish to pay tribute to the project team who have brought this facility into operation. I am impressed by their dedication and the person centred approach they have taken. I am sure patients will have a similar reaction.”

The Craig family originally announced it intended to make the donation to the NHS in April 2015.