New first-of-its-kind £5m imaging centre opens to reduce waiting times for NHS and private patients

Launch at The Hive London, home of Barnet Football Club, is a blueprint for national chain of elite diagnostic clinics closer to the community.

A unique imaging centre in North London has today officially opened its doors to patients following accreditation from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The Imaging Centre Limited (TIC) at Barnet Football Club’s Hive Stadium is the first in a series of planned diagnostic centres built to improve community access to CT, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray imaging examinations in a high-calibre environment. It will include the latest advanced imaging equipment from Canon Medical Systems. 

Patients can be referred by their GP, NHS or Private Consultant and be scanned within days – much quicker than the non-urgent NHS referral-for-treatment 18-week wait commitment. This will greatly speed up diagnosis, improve clinical decision making and treatment planning, thus reducing the anxiety and frustration experienced by some patients who are concerned by symptoms or experiencing pain. The facility will open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, extending to 24 hours as demand requires. The non-clinical feel to the centre will help draw in nervous patients who may usually decline diagnostic appointments. It will also provide easy and plentiful on-site parking. 

TIC will continue to provide imaging examinations to Barnet Football Club players, managing or preventing injuries and optimising training schedules based on individual anatomies. It also offers local cricket, rugby and athletic clubs a discreet imaging facility for sports medicine.

‘Skill shortages in the NHS are acute and the demand for innovative imaging scans as a frontline diagnostic test is outstripping capacity at most NHS hospitals,’ states Richard Bartlett, Chief Operating Officer at The Imaging Centre. ‘Our aim with TIC at Barnet Football Club is a blueprint for further community based imaging centres where patients can be seen quickly using the latest technology. Clinicians can swiftly gain access to detailed images and reports that they need to make an accurate and informed diagnosis. Greater imaging capacity across the UK will mean an improved flow of healthcare referrals that support the NHS and improve the overall wellbeing of local communities.’

TIC offers imaging equipment not currently found in other local North London hospitals or clinics. This includes the UK’s first Vantage Galan 3T MRI from Canon Medical Systems which puts patient comfort and highly detailed images for accurate diagnosis at the heart of its design. 3T MRI scanners are known to be extremely noisy but the Galan is the quietest MRI on the market, emitting a 63dB acoustic noise when scanning with its Pianissimo Zen sequences. This is only 2dB above ambient noise from every sequence scanned, significantly lower than the average MRI scanner noise level of 150dB. Patient anxiety is known to be reduced with a quieter scan. The Galan MRI also has a wide and short scanner bore hole for a more pleasant patient experience, which helps to reduce any patient movement, ensuring highly detailed images, which are better for clinical review,  interpretation and diagnosing with clinical confidence. An Aquilion One Genesis Edition CT scanner, Aplio i-series ultrasound scanner and Radrex Digital X-ray, all from Canon Medical Systems are also installed to provide a spectrum of diagnostic imaging tests for most clinical needs.

A fleet of 9 relocatable imaging systems are also part of the TIC business portfolio. Hospitals across the UK can hire the mobile trailers housing Canon Medical Systems’ MRI or CT scanners to scale up imaging to meet demand, or temporarily replace equipment in times of breakdown or maintenance.  

Tony Kleanthous, Barnet Football Club Chairman and CEO of The Imaging Centre Limited states, ‘The conception of TIC was for first class imaging for elite sports people. However, it doesn’t make sense to have advanced imaging equipment stood idle when not in use, especially when the NHS is facing so many pressures. This is just the start of our community imaging business plan and we hope to roll the concept out across the UK. Patient care at the heart of communities will improve the health and wellbeing for everyone.’

Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK states, ‘Access to top-end University Hospital grade imaging equipment within 24 hour referral is rare in most areas in the UK. The vision of TIC to see patients quickly and report scans straightaway in a seamless process is in tune with what patients expect. We are very pleased to be working with TIC, not just for this first elite diagnostic centre, but also the fleet of mobile CT and MRI scanners that are supporting the NHS on a day-to-day basis.’