Published: 13:58, 18 January 2019
| Updated: 15:49, 18 January 2019
A new £250,000 machine halving X-ray times at Deal Hospital has been unveiled today.
The digital equipment, funded by the Friends of Deal Hospital (FoDH), is in memory of former hospital manager and FoDH president, Maureen Bane.
It replaces a 30-year-old device which used cassettes and required staff to travel to a separate room to download the images.
Radiology business manager from East Kent Hospitals Trust, Colin Fell, said: "This fabulous new piece of equipment has been purchased with help of Deal Friends and we're very thankful.
"It's a Philips X-ray, with wireless detectors so it meets the latest technology which can be used for the people of Deal.
"We've opened up the X-ray room so that we can now get beds and the more infirm patients into the room.
"For the staff the ease of use is where is comes across.
"Before they used to have an X-Ray cassette which had to be put into a reader, read and downloaded on the radiology system.
"Now, it's electronic. It goes wirelessly through the internet. It speeds up the process and makes its faster for patients too."
The wireless feature means the images can also be sent to other hospitals in seconds.
Superintendent radiographer Lara Green, who has been using the machine at the hospital since it was installed last month, added: "It's brilliant.
"The images now come up instantly and we can review them as many times as necessary. It's halved the time the patients are in the room.
For the FoDH, it's been their biggest project yet - with money raised through fundraising events like the annual Deal Hospital Fete, as well as legacies from people’s estates and cash from reserves.
Efforts began around two years ago under Mrs Bane, who died last May. Prior to her role as president for the FoDH, she was hospital manager.
During her 40-year career, she led the team which gave first class care to the Royal Marine musicians and civilians injured in the IRA bombing of Deal barracks in September 1989.
She was recognised for this by The Queen when she was made an MBE in the 1991 honours.
FoDH chairman Doris Thompson said Mrs Bane was 'keen to see it happen' during her speech to professionals from around East Kent.
She said: "I feel very privileged and honoured to be opening the X-ray machine today in memory of our dear friend Maureen.
"Maureen was involved from the beginning of planning the X-ray machine and was very keen for this to happen.
"I am sure that the people of Deal and surrounding areas will be very pleased to be seen here that rather going elsewhere.
"The League of Friends would like to thank all organisations and members of the public who continually support us so that we can continue helping out hospital to be as Maureen would say 'the jewel in the crown of Deal'."
Stephen Weller, head of local care for NHS South Kent Coast CCG, said: “It’s wonderful to see the positive contribution that the Friends continue to make to our local hospitals and the purchase of the new X-ray equipment will provide a real improvement to patient care.
"It supports the focus of South Kent Coast CCG and its membership to provide patients better access to care in their local community.”
The X-Ray department is open 9am until 5pm from Monday to Friday.
The FoDH are now working to boost reserves and would welcome new volunteers.
Donate now at www.friendsofdealhospital.org.uk, call secretary Margot Laing on 07793 559936, email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into the hospital reception to find out more.