MRI claustrophobia clinic celebrates 10 years of putting patients at ease at The Walton Centre

The radiology department at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, is celebrating 10 years of providing a specialist MRI clinic for patients with claustrophobia.

The team of four have scanned more than 830 patients over the past decade. Created in 2014, the clinic was first supported by the Roy Ferguson Fund, set up by The Walton Centre Charity. Originally held on weekends, the clinic proved an important part of the MRI service, scanning patients who previously could not enter a scanning room because of their phobia of enclosed spaces.

Now held during the week, the clinic offers a slower process and additional support for patients. The team ensures a calm and friendly environment, which encourages patients to discuss the triggers for their anxiety. Radiographers suggest strategies and put mechanisms in place to help patients feel comfortable. Neighbouring hospitals now refer claustrophobic patients for scans.

Lead radiographer Lisa Weights said: “The clinic provides a unique service, empowering patients to complete their scans and ensuring neurosurgeons and neurologists have the diagnostic information to determine the best course of action for their patients. I’m so proud of what we achieve as a team, it makes an incredible difference to our patients.”

Deputy medical director and consultant neuroradiolologist Dr Sacha Niven added: “As with many new ideas, you worry that it won’t be well received by patients. However, with the claustrophobia clinic that wasn’t the case. It’s made an incredible difference to patients and their experience here at The Walton Centre. Even in their initial consultations in outpatients, when they hear there is a specialised clinic designed to put them at ease, they relax almost immediately.”

Picture: Lead radiographer Lisa Weights with a patient in a claustrophobia clinic.

Published on page 5 of the May 2024 issue of RAD Magazine.

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