New technology eases MRI scan fears

Patients are to benefit from a new MRI scanner at Solihull Hospital which is much wider, quieter and has the option of feet first scans for many, helping to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and anxiety that can often come with a scan and makes the procedure much less daunting.

The new scanner has faster motion correction features than others within the Trust, which will provides improved image quality in a shorter of period of time so that the imaging team can provide a more accurate and efficient diagnosis.

An MRI scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body, including the brain and spine, bones and joints, and internal organs and the results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess how effective previous treatment has been.

Claire Hughes, MRI modality lead, said:

“We are very pleased with this investment in MRI scanning technology.  Being able to offer the latest scanner software combined with wide bore imaging will improve patient choice and their scanning experience, as well as obtaining the highest quality images. This new addition now makes wide bore MRI imaging available across Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull sites”.

“With the refurbishment of the interventional radiology suite at Heartlands Hospital last year, and recent replacement of digital x-ray and CT scanner equipment, this adds to the portfolio of modern imaging equipment and facilities at the Trust and ensures we deliver a high standard of diagnosis and treatment.”

Now fully operational, the first patient to receive their scan via the new equipment, Pamela Browett was warmly greeted by the team (pictured from l-r: back row Claire Hughes and Isaac Chihwe, Solihull Hospital MRI lead.  Front row: Leanne Nash, senior cross-sectional radiographer, Pamela and Alexa Hawkes, MRI booking co-ordinator).

What matters to you – imaging event

Earlier in the year, the NHS encouraged staff to have a ‘What matters to you?’ conversation with people they care for or support.

The imaging departments at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals took part to find out what patients and their carers thought of their visits to each department.  Patients were encouraged to complete a postcard which was then attached to a visible feedback poster.  Posters advertising and explaining the event were displayed in Urdu, Polish, Arabic and English.

The response from patients was very positive and a lot of feedback was received.  The cards are now being collated for themes and for any issued which need to be addressed.  Consultant Radiographer, Louise Small, said

“Visits to X-ray form part of many patient journeys so imaging is well placed to interact with many patient pathways.”

The results of the day are being shared with staff at their lunch and learn sessions on the importance of communication, which forms part of the staff continuous professional development.  Any comments pertaining to other departments will also be shared with them.


Imaging play area for children waiting at Good Hope Hospital

The Imaging department has benefited from the Charity’s funding.  A hospital can be a scary place for children, so as part of Good Hope Hospital Charity’s children appeal, a play area is being built to make children feel safer and more as ease whilst at hospital.

The play area will also help to make parents feel more at ease when bringing their children to hospital, as they don’t have to worry about their child being scared or worried about their child being scared whilst waiting for examination.  Laura Power, Fundraising Manager at Good Hope Hospital, said:

“It is important that we make sure children are happy and aren’t scared whilst visiting the hospital, it can be a daunting place for children.  By funding a play area, parents and children can have a more stress-free trip to the hospital.”

Imaging Quality Improvement Project

The imaging department is launching a Quality Improvement project with the aim of improving the quality of clinical information supplied on imaging requests.  Inspired by Ron Daniel’s internationally recognised SEPSIS 6 mnemonic, we have devised the RADIOL 6.

We have audited a number of key indicators in requests prior to this announcement, and requests will be re-audited at some stage in the future.

The six recommendations will appear in a single pane, on Concerto, prior to entering the Imaging Requesting pane.


Relevant PMH (e.g. Operations, Previous cancer diagnosis, Previous Imaging etc.)


Acute renal impairment (Please state the Urea, Creatinine and eGFR)


Do not ask us “to Rule out….” (Diagnostic tests rarely work so – Bayes theorem, we can “rule in” for e.g. PE on a CTPA )


Injury – Please supply the mechanism of injury


Optimised brain and spine imaging (Please supply information regarding Dermatomes, Myotomes, Tone, Reflexes and Plantars on neurological and spinal imaging requests).


Localisation (Accurately localise symptoms, using anatomical, not lay terminology)


Share your feedback on diagnostic radiographer apprenticeship standard

Skills for Health and the trailblazer group responsible for the development of the apprenticeship standard for diagnostic radiographers has launched a consultation to gather feedback on the draft standard.

You can download the standard, which describes the duties, knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of a diagnostic radiographer apprentice by clicking here.

The consultation is an opportunity for employers to ensure that the qualified apprentice diagnostic radiographer is able to meet the workforce requirements for the future.

It may also be viewed by prospective apprentices choosing careers and so the language used within the standard needs to be easily understood.

The questionnaire will take between 20-25 minutes to complete.

The deadline for responses is 12pm on Thursday 21 June.

Midlands Special Interest Group (MSIG) Plain Image Reporting

We would like to invite you to the return of the MSIG in Plain Image Reporting. This event is free to attend and will take place on:

Thursday 12th July 2018 at 17:30pm

Education Centre, Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham B9 5SS


17:30 – Buffet sponsored by Philips Medical Systems

18:30 – Introductions and Welcome                                         Kirsty Robertson

18:45 – Rheumatoid Arthritis radiographic appearances Dr M. Cleasby

19:15 – Mesothelioma…an overview                                        Rachael Hinchliffe

19:40 – The Impact of Clinical History                                    Louise Small

20:00 – Discussion and Close

Please confirm your attendance for catering purposes via email to

Free parking is available; details will be given once attendance had been confirmed.

Louise takes on exciting new role as our first consultant radiographer

We have appointed our first consultant radiographer in a forward thinking move aimed at benefiting both patients and staff. Louise Small, who has worked at all of the three HGS hospital sites over the years before becoming a university lecturer, returned to the Trust to take on the exciting new role in January.

The role – which is a new one – is aimed at boosting and developing radiography in the Trust. As part of her role she is leading a team of 11 plain film reporting radiographers across all of the three HGS sites. She aims to improve report turnaround times for images such as X-rays and help develop the educational side of staff development in conjunction with the department educational leads across all sites. She also aims to work with other professions to develop shared learning between disciplines, keeping the patient at the centre of everything we do.

Louise qualified in 1991 at Selly Oak Hospital and first joined Heartlands Hospital in 1992 as a radiographer. She worked in various radiography departments before joining Birmingham City University as a lecturer in radiography and then as post graduate programme director. At BCU she
gained her Masters in Education and PG Dip in image reporting.

She joined Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust as a consultant radiographer at New Cross Hospital in 2016. When she saw that we were recruiting our first plain image consultant radiographer she thought it was too good a chance to miss.  She said:

“I wanted the job because it was the first post of its type in Birmingham and it was across a bigger trust – I thought you have to grab these opportunities when they
come up.”

She is looking forward to the challenges of her new role.

“For me, my role is to help improve the service, improve quality, and to help increase the research profile in radiography. I want to work with radiographers and staff in other departments to improve radiography education. I also want to see how we can work safely and efficiently together for the good of the patient. I’d like to make patients’ care more seamless and encourage more team working to ensure patients have the best outcome.”

She also wants to maintain the department’s high level of reporting accuracy by continuing the monthly audit of reporting accuracy.

Louise plans to use her university teaching background and experience to aid staff development and is already introducing lunchtime talks for staff. She will work with all staff ranging from undergraduate student radiographers to doctors studying for their plain image interpretation exams as part of their Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists.

She is determined her department should not rest on its laurels and always be striving for more improvements. Having a consultant in position should also boost the reputation of the department and raise the profi le of the Trust. She’s already planning to organise special interest groups for radiographers across the West Midlands region.

Louise and her colleagues are also organising accredited study days which will be advertised nationally with aim of attracting a diverse range of health care professionals with an interest in developing their knowledge of image interpretation. Louise is also completing a piece of research looking at the role of clinical history in the valuation of chest radiographs. Once Louise has finished this she hopes to have it published later this year.

New Birmingham hospital Trust formed by merger

The merger by acquisition of Birmingham’s two largest hospital trusts is to go ahead on 1 April 2018.

Plans to bring together University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham – and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, have been given the green light from the trusts’ respective Boards of Directors, with the decision cleared by both Councils of Governors.

The enlarged organisation will use the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust name (UHB). All individual hospital and clinic names will remain the same, including the Birmingham Chest Clinic.

The single Trust will have approximately 50,000 Foundation Trust members and employ more than 20,000 members of staff. It will be one of the largest trusts in England treating over 2.2 million patients each year, with more than 2,700 beds across its sites and an estimated annual turnover of £1.6 billion.

The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair of UHB and interim Chair of HEFT, said:

“The final approval to combine the two trusts is the result of a huge amount of preparation and planning to ensure the new organisation can provide the best possible healthcare to the population we serve.”

Dame Julie Moore, Chief Executive, UHB and interim Chief Executive at HEFT, said:

“The combined expertise of the two trusts will benefit all of our patients and bring added benefits to the local health economy that could not be otherwise achieved.”

The merger by acquisition, proposed in September 2016, had been under consideration by the government’s Competitions and Markets Authority for several months before being cleared in August 2017.

The CMA concluded that, while the merger could give rise to competition concerns across a number of elective specialties, these were outweighed by the substantial improvements to patient care that were expected to arise.

In reaching this view, the CMA placed significant weight on the advice on probable benefits from NHS Improvement, the sector regulator, which strongly supported the merger.

NHS Improvement advised the CMA that HEFT had experienced sustained difficulties in governance, quality of care and finances since 2012, which successive management teams had been unable to address.

It also advised that the appointment of the UHB management to HEFT’s executive team in October 2015 had already given rise to a number of benefits, such as reduced waiting times and improvements in the quality and safety of patient care for all HEFT patients. However, these improvements and a number of other longer-term benefits would disappear without the merger and the continued presence of the UHB management at HEFT.

The CMA found that HEFT would be a relatively weak competitor to UHB without the merger and that both parties were experiencing capacity constraints.

The CMA compared this to the wide-ranging nature of the benefits identified by the hospitals and NHS Improvement, which would benefit most patients at HEFT. It also examined UHB’s track record and the results already delivered at HEFT since October 2015.

NHS Improvement also needed to approve the application following the clearance from the CMA.

It conducted a thorough review of the proposed transaction, assessed the business case and issued an indicative transaction risk rating of Amber, which was expected, and sufficient to enable the Boards to undertake the transaction.

The merged organisation, approved at extraordinary meetings of both trusts’ boards on Monday (Monday March 26) will deliver services to patients in Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and South Staffordshire. It will aim to deliver more equitable patient access to better quality and integrated healthcare across the footprint of the new merged Trust, through Heartlands, Good Hope, Solihull and the Queen Elizabeth hospitals.

Diagnostic radiography apprenticeship trailblazer meeting – your input needed

Approval has been given to start work on creating a national standard for apprenticeships in diagnostic radiography.

This is an employer-led initiative which provides an opportunity to have an influence on the vision of a diagnostic radiographer, trained via the degree apprenticeship route.

Involvement includes employers, the Society of Radiographers, the Health and Care Professions Council, Skills for Health, and education partners.

We are now seeking representatives from stakeholder organisations throughout England to engage robustly and constructively in contributing to the vision of an Apprentice Diagnostic Radiographer.

The Diagnostic Radiography Degree Apprenticeship Trailblazer Meeting will take place on Thursday, 25 January 2018 at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Birmingham. Registratrion is 10am for a 10.30 start amnd the meeting is scheduled to finish by 3pm.

We need a good range of representatives to ensure the standard meets everyone’s future radiographer workforce needs.

Please indicate your interest by email with your contact details and suggestions of individuals who you believe can contribute to this work by 12 January.

Stepping forward with plans for a new Ambulatory Care and Diagnostics Centre (ACAD) at Heartlands Hospital

For the past 18 months, clinical and operational teams from across Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) have been working on the designs and planning arrangements for a new, four-storey facility on the Heartlands site which will transform our current service provision for patients.

About the proposed design

The multi-million building will offer world-class facilities and house a wide range of health services, including outpatients, endoscopy and diagnostic services, which will care for hundreds of thousands of patients each year.

Share your views

Our open ACAD engagement meeting on Wednesday 4th October 2017 will provide an opportunity to find out more about the proposed new build – come and view our latest plans for the new facility, hear a presentation and ask any questions you have. The feedback you give is important and will be used to further shape our plans to improve the experiences of patients, visitors and staff.

Everyone is welcome to the open meeting on 4th October will be held between 6pm and 7pm at Heartlands Hospital Education Centre: For directions go to:

What happens next?

Our intention is to progress through the planning application stage this autumn, to begin construction in 2018 and to have the facility open by 2020.

For more information, please email