Cancer patients across the West Midlands are to benefit from the country's first MRI scanner network when five regional hospitals join forces next month.
Bupa Healthcare already offers specialist services for its members who have breast, bowel and gynaecological cancer through an approved network of cancer hospitals, and the new MRI network is the next step in its specialist network programme.
More than 400 sites across the UK applied to become Bupa approved units and around 230 private and NHS hospitals and imaging facilities will make up the network, giving patients convenient local access to high standards of care.
The Priory Hospital, Bupa Hospital Little Aston, Bupa Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Birmingham Children's Hospital and Wolverhampton Nuffield Hospital, will form part of the West Midlands MRI scanner network.
Each centre had to be equipped with the most up to date technology, have access to specialist consultant radiologists, regularly audit their service and offer good value for money.
Many of the units have the ability to transfer images electronically, enabling referring consultants and radiologists to see images and reports in different locations.
The network includes some of the units operated by private hospital providers like BMI, Capio, Nuffield, Bupa Hospitals, and 50 NHS hospitals are included, plus diagnostics specialists like Lodestone Patient Care.
Dr Natalie Jane Macdonald, Bupa Insurance medical director, said: "This is the first time that MRI units in the UK have been assessed against consistent criteria.
"In choosing the five facilities in the West Midlands we looked at everything from how quickly patients get an appointment for a scan to the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment, clinical excellence, safety standards and access to experienced UKbased consultant radiologists.
"Bupa funds 80,000 MRI scans every year and we want to ensure we offer the best value for money and local access for all our members, and make the whole process simple for them.
"Getting the right treatment at the right time in the right place means a better outcome for patients." ..SUPL: