Derby first university in UK to launch advanced visionary X-ray suite

29 September 2016

A new cutting-edge X-ray suite has opened at the University of Derby to provide the next generation of radiographers the most advanced skills to help combat the nation-wide shortage.

The University has installed a Fujifilm Advanced Visionary X-ray Suite – the first of its kind to be installed in a university in the UK.

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The new Suite, which has cost around £250,000, is equipped with the latest technological developments in both X-ray image acquisition and X-ray image processing and replaces the University’s current system.

As part of the upgrade of the University’s teaching and learning materials for current and future students, two state-of-the-art phantoms have also been purchased. These models can be used to simulate pathological lesions, such as tumours in the chest.

The new kit is designed to improve the preciseness of X-ray imaging while reducing the operational dose rate, which is better for patients.

And in the future, it is hoped the system will be configured to be compatible with the University’s partner NHS institutions, which would give the University potential to provide a clinical service to patients through the ‘choose and book’ referral system.

Chris Alvey, Senior Lecturer in Diagnostic Radiography at the University of Derby, was invited to see the advanced kit in Dusseldorf and decided it would be an outstanding piece of equipment to have installed at Derby.

He said: “The equipment represents a significant investment for the University. We were looking to improve our existing equipment and essentially future-proof our training facilities for students.

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“The equipment can produce high-quality diagnostic images but it also has increased functionality to provide a number of image acquisition types including dual energy subtraction imagery, digital tomosynthesis (this is similar to advanced techniques used in breast imaging, however, we are able to apply this technique to all anatomical areas) and ‘virtual grid’ software.

“This combination means we are able to offer significant training opportunities, continued professional development events for qualified staff and students, as well as providing a platform for future clinical and academic research collaborations.”

The University also launched a new expanded Ultrasound Simulation Suite which features an additional three new units to help increase capacity for simulation. The new equipment, which cost a further £250,000, was funded by Health Education East Midlands to support sonography trainees in the region.

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The new facilities were officially opened today (Monday, September 26) at a special ceremony at the University’s Clinical Skills Suite.

The opening ceremony was conducted by Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby; Professor Philip Plowden, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby; Paula Crick, Dean of the College of Health and Social Care at Derby and Steve Herring, President of the Society and College of Radiographers. Representatives from Fujifilm and MedaPhor, who supplied the Ultrasound simulation equipment, also attended.

The event included tours of the new suites as well as demonstrations of the new equipment.

Dr Paula Crick said: “Providing the most realistic and up to date clinical learning environment for our students is extremely important to us and Derby boasts some of the best facilities you will find in any university.

“Our Clinical Skills Suite really does bring theory and practice together, and these two new facilities, on top of our recently-launched Immersive Suite, show that we are focused on making sure our trainee radiographers and sonographers have the latest technology with which to refine their skills, so when they enter clinical practice they are well equipped enhance their practice with patients.”

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