How Harrogate hospital is removing the fear of scans for children

The inflatable scanner had an official launch at the White Stuff store on Thursday night, supported by radiology staff, donors, and charity colleagues.
The inflatable scanner had an official launch at the White Stuff store on Thursday night, supported by radiology staff, donors, and charity colleagues.

Harrogate hospital has taken important steps to remove the fear of scans for children.

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Realising that going into hospital can be a daunting experience, an inflatable MRI scanner has been bought to simulate what it's like to have a scan, so that children can familiarise themselves with the equipment beforehand.

The noise, vibration and claustrophobia from MRI machines can be upsetting, but thanks to the staff at Harrogate's White Stuff fashion store on Princes Street, who raised £3,050 for the inflatable, children now have the chance to get used to it before having a scan for real.

The inflatable scanner had an official launch at the White Stuff store on Thursday, supported by radiology staff, donors, and charity colleagues.

It is hoped the inflatable, which was funded with support from the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity, will help to reduce the number of young patients who require general anaesthetic for their scan, which brings with it extra risks and longer waits.

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It will also save families having to go to Leeds or to use another, perhaps sub-optimal, means of diagnosis.

Specialist radiographer at Harrogate District Hospital, Emma Burke, said: “The brand new inflatable replica MRI scanner is a fantastic addition to Harrogate's imaging service. For our paediatric service users, undergoing an MRI scan can be a daunting experience, but with the input of our excellent play specialists and this new simulator, patients can prepare in a fun environment while all aspects remain realistic.

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"By doing this we aim to reduce cancellations and, more importantly, reduce the number of times where sedation is required.”

The Friends of Harrogate Hospital Chairman, Andy Wilkinson, said: “We are very grateful to the team at White Stuff Harrogate for their enthusiastic support. On behalf of parents across the district, I thank White Stuff for all the childcare improvements they have enabled in our hospital. Finally, I stress it is not a bouncy castle so not available for parties."

The inflatable scanner has now been brought to Harrogate District Hospital, where it is now available for children and young people to use as part of their treatment.