23/03/2023 | Press releases

Charitable donation brings care closer to home

Patients with conditions which have left them unable to have MRI scans in the past can now access the valuable tests under anaesthesia thanks to new equipment in place at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).

The specialist anaesthetic system, called a Drager Fabius® MRI, is now in use at Colchester Hospital thanks to a £30,000 donation from the League of Friends, which has since merged with Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity. It is specially designed to work safely alongside an MRI scanner, which uses a strong magnetic field that can prevent other equipment used in anaesthesia from working correctly.

The machine is making it possible for patients with conditions such as learning difficulties, behavioural problems, anxiety and claustrophobia – and who may otherwise struggle to lie still in a scanner – to access these important tests closer to home for the very first time.

Previously, patients would need to travel to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge for an MRI scan or have a CT scan instead, which doesn’t always produce such clear and detailed results.

Sally Anne Adams’ son Adam Hurst, who had ADHD, autism and learning disabilities, was the first patient to benefit from the new service before he sadly passed away from cancer aged 33. She described the scan as vital, and said the results helped her make the right choices for Adam in his last weeks of life.

Adam Hurst (right) with his mum Sally Anne Adams and brother Robert (left) on Robert’s wedding day


“I was so, so proud of my darling boy for being the first person at Colchester to have this scan,” said Sally, who lives near Braintree. “He was terrified but told me that he wanted to leave a legacy and help pave the way for others who may need an MRI under anaesthetic in the future.

“The scan also gave me the information I needed to be able to make the right decisions for Adam, and know that I was doing the very best for him at what was a difficult time.

Sally Anne Adams and her son Adam Hurst


“My family and I are so grateful to all of the staff at Colchester Hospital who made this possible. We will never forget what they did for us and for Adam, and would like to thank them all.”

Dr Andrew Eldridge, consultant anaesthetist with ESNEFT, said: “MRI scanning is a very valuable way of imaging the body, but having a scan can be very unpleasant for some patients. Sometimes we can offer patients sedation, but with others this is just not possible.

“Being able to give a general anaesthetic will transform access to these important diagnostic tests for this group of patients. We have already scanned several adult patients who were unable to have an MRI previously, as well as the first children locally.

“We are very grateful for the generous donation which enabled us to buy the anaesthetic machine, and would also like to thank colleagues from theatres, children’s services, radiology and Alliance Medical, whose teamwork has made this possible.”

Consultant paediatrician Jonathan Campbell, consultant anaesthetist Dr Andrew Eldridge, MRI radiographer clinical lead Moloud Ghazi-Torbati and operating department practitioner Zoe Frizzell. The team also includes Dr Rebecca Spendiff, consultant radiologist, and Amy Smith, operational coordinator for children’s services, who are not pictured.


The service is also available for use by patients receiving care at Ipswich Hospital.

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