The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has become the first of eight NHS trusts to deploy a state-of-the-art imaging IT solution from Sectra that is transforming how clinical staff examine crucial patient images.

A new region-wide approach to analysing x-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, mammography, and an entire range of crucial diagnostic images, has become reality. The Pennine Acute has become the first of eight trusts across Greater Manchester to deploy state-of-the-art medical imaging technology.

Healthcare professionals at the Trust have begun using a new enterprise imaging solution to benefit patients. The announcement comes only weeks after the Greater Manchester Provider Federation Board signed a landmark contract with medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra in October 2020.

The agreement represents one of the largest imaging initiatives of its kind in the NHS and anywhere in Europe.

Known in the NHS as picture archiving and communication system (PACS) – the imaging solution is used by hospital staff to interrogate patient images digitally. The new PACS replaces ageing IT and is delivering immediate benefits to staff such being able to view and report on detailed images remotely, including from their home. In the case of surgical scenarios, 3D orthopaedic tools will allow staff to virtually reconstruct joints prior to procedures. The system is expected to transform how multi-disciplinary teams function.

Elaine Quick, Greater Manchester’s PACS Implementation Lead, said: “I am really impressed with how teams across the trust have worked with our partner Sectra to get this in place quickly whilst simultaneously dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19 and winter pressures in the NHS.

“This first go-live is the start of the main journey. We will be able to maximise how our staff work across different trusts and we will be able to connect 15 years’ worth of rich data currently isolated in individual trusts. ”

Once the system is fully live and rolled out in more hospitals, clinical staff will be able to instantly access patient images captured at any of the participating NHS trusts in the region. This will support healthcare professionals making decisions at the point of care and help staff carrying out reports used to inform diagnoses.

The programme has paved the way for better and faster access to the scarce expertise and faster diagnoses for 3.2 million people across Greater Manchester at a time of national staff recruitment challenges in specialist disciplines like radiology.

Other NHS trusts that will benefit as deployment continues at pace over the next year, include:

  • Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)
  • Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Jane Rendall, Managing Director UK and Ireland at Sectra, said: “Greater Manchester is delivering fast on its determination to get modern tools and crucial information to the people that need them. Diagnostic imaging is a crucial part of patient care. For the millions of people covered by this new programme, the first steps have been taken in an initiative that will transform the way they are diagnosed and treated. ”

Pennine Acute consists of hospitals in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and North Manchester. The Oldham, Bury and Rochdale sites are managed along with Salford Royal NHS FT as the Northern Care Alliance. The North Manchester site is managed as part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Group.