New £3m life-saving diagnostic equipment up and running at North Devon District Hospital

Patients in North Devon now have access to some of the very latest diagnostic equipment in the UK, as two new CT (computed tomography) scanners open at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) in Barnstaple.

£3m has been invested in the project, which includes £2.3m of Government funding. Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) has used the funding to build a scanning suite, replacing an old CT scanner and install a second CT scanner, and provide the necessary infrastructure for the Trust.

The scanners will produce highly detailed images, helping staff diagnose and recommend the best treatment for injuries and diseases, such as cancer.

They will also increase the Trust’s capacity to provide more specialist imaging, including cardiac CT (heart imaging), pneumocolons (bowel imaging) and biopsies (taking small tissue samples).

Having two CT scanners reduces the need for mobile scanners that have been used over the past couple of years to perform these important diagnostic tests. The state-of-the-art equipment is also more accurate and quicker – which will also help the Trust to see more patients.

Dr Sarah Johnson, Consultant Radiologist and Associate Medical Director at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that both scanners are now up and running, which will help us provide better and quicker care to our patients.

“Our team have done a fantastic job to create an environment that supports an excellent patient experience. Some people can feel nervous or anxious about having a CT scan, and the team have made the space feel light and airy, and as welcoming as possible.”


John Palmer, Interim Chief Operating Officer at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said: “CT scanners are a vital piece of equipment, and we are really pleased to have some of the newest equipment in the whole of the UK right here in North Devon.

“The new technology will mean we can do scans more quickly, and therefore see more patients than we could before. Our priority is to get services back up to pre-COVID levels, and these scanners will be instrumental in supporting our efforts.”

The scanning rooms feature relaxing murals of local landscapes – Tarr Steps and Woolacombe Beach. There are special light panels in the ceiling to provide a little distraction, and there are new changing facilities.

The new scanners are part of a £10m programme of work to upgrade diagnostic equipment across the Trust which includes

  • The replacement of all of our anologue x-rays rooms with new up to date digital radiography x-ray rooms. An additional digital x-ray room in the Emergency Department and an additional digital x-ray room in outpatients
  • All of the general ultrasound machines have been replaced and opens up potential to perform Ultrasound scans on community sites where staffing allows
  • The replacement of our Interventional x-ray rooms with up to date digital equipment opening recently
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Last updated: February 16, 2022