Merseyside roll-out for ‘life-saving' mobile ultrasound service

A leading primary healthcare provider in Knowsley, Merseyside that pioneered a new mobile ultrasound service enabling the early detection of life-threatening conditions for many of its own primary care patients, is now set to roll-out the service to other general practices across the region.

A leading primary healthcare provider in Knowsley, Merseyside that pioneered a new mobile ultrasound service enabling the early detection of life-threatening conditions for many of its own primary care patients, is now set to roll-out the service to other general practices across the region.

Aston Healthcare which introduced the mobile service into its 10 surgeries just over a year ago, and which has the full approval and endorsement of Knowsley Primary Care Trust (PCT), was this week extending its offer to other general practices in the area.  The move reflects Aston’s growing commitment to Practice Based Commissioning where it operates as both a provider and its own commissioning group.

Adhering to the Core Standards for Better Health, this state-of-the-art mobile diagnostic ultrasound service is one of the first anywhere in the UK and is focused on ensuring the earliest possible detection of conditions such as aortic aneurysms, liver, renal, pancreatic and testicular cancers.

One of the most significant benefits has been the reduced waiting times for patients. Mobile scans are available within just one week of request or 24 hours for emergency cases, in marked contrast to secondary care hospital scanning where, in some parts of Merseyside, patients can wait up to 12 weeks for an appointment.

Aston’s ultrasound service has already successfully performed over 1,600 scans and it cites examples of patients who have been scanned, referred and had surgery, for example for cancer, before they would have even received a scan in secondary care.

Aston’s ultrasound service manager, Carol Hart is at the forefront of day to day scanning and has seen many patients benefit from prompt and efficient diagnosis. She believes the mobile service is the future for all GP surgeries within Knowsley PCT and beyond:

“The equipment is so small and compact that scanning can be performed in any basic GP surgery and can even be taken into the home or nursing homes to scan elderly, infirm or housebound patients.”

Professor J Hill, a consultant radiologist at the Royal Preston Hospital, is responsible for formally supervising the ultrasound service and ensuring it complies with the highest standard of clinical governance:

“The service provided by Aston Healthcare is one of the most innovative in the country and is genuinely enabling detection and diagnosis of life-threatening illnesses at the earliest opportunity.  Its expansion throughout Knowsley and potentially other PCT’s will benefit many, many primary care patients.”

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