£550k buys Sick Kids state-of-the-art scanner

The scanner is painted with an underwater theme. Picture: comp
The scanner is painted with an underwater theme. Picture: comp
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A NEW state-of-the-art scanner has been installed at the Sick Kids hospital following a £550,000 investment from the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

The life-saving gamma camera is the first of its kind to be implemented in a children’s hospital in this country.

The vital piece of equipment will help to detect a range of life-threatening conditions such as cancer and epilepsy using a more accurate diagnostic test.

It follows an appeal from the SKFF to replace the former scanner which was purchased 13 years previously by the foundation and has since been used for about 6000 procedures.

Medical staff hailed the addition, with breakthroughs in technology meaning it has finer clarity, image quality and accuracy, helping to pinpoint tumours and home in on areas. The latest model also includes CT scanning so if the main CT scanner is unavailable, children can still have this vital form of imaging without being moved to an adult hospital.

Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the SKFF, said it was vital for children to get the best care on offer.

She said: “An integral part of what the Sick Kids Friends Foundation does is providing state-of-the-art machinery to make sure sick children receive the best treatment 
available.

“The new gamma camera will play an instrumental part in diagnosing children who suffer from epilepsy, cancer and other potentially life-threatening conditions.”

It was funded through various sponsorship with Scots charity, The Robertson Trust, contributing £100,000 and substantial donations from Tesco Bank and Standard Life.

Andy McIntosh, 44, from Davidson’s Mains, attended the RHSC for a year while his daughter Emily, two, received treatment there and is currently an outpatient.

The graphic designer and artist wanted to “give something back” and teamed up with Cate James, the SKFF illustrator in residence.

Together, they designed and created underwater-themed vinyls which were installed in and around the camera, and surrounding room, to make it more child-friendly.

He said: “Emily had been attending the RHSC for over a year, meaning my family and I got to know the hospital very well.

“It’s great to have the new equipment, they do brilliant work there and I wanted to do something to help.”

The gamma camera table was also designed as a yellow submarine with sea, fish and mermaids, to tie in with the underwater theme.

“You are grateful to see when someone has made an effort to distract the kids,” Andy added.

“They are scared and don’t want to be there. When you go into the room, the first things to see now are the illustrations and not the scanner which is great.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com