Morecambe Bay benefits from £90k for diagnostic equipment

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has introduced new imaging equipment to support patients who attend the Ophthalmology.

Supported by £90,000 investment, the ‘Optos’ imaging machine has been purchased to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients from across North Lancashire and South Cumbria, who attend the Ophthalmology Department’s Macular Unit, at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) in Kendal.

The trust has said that staff within the Ophthalmology Department are already seeing benefits and it’s helping to identify a greater number of conditions, such as cancer and macular degeneration, sooner. 

Linda Williams, Manager of the Ophthalmology Departments at WGH and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), said: “The Optos machine is fantastic – I can’t praise it highly enough. It’s very user-friendly and gives a greatly enhanced picture of what is going on with a person’s eyes.

“The Optos machine is patient-friendly and child-friendly. It’s already improving our service as we are able to see more patients sooner. The machine doesn’t require staff and patients to be face-to-face so everyone can keep a safe distance. This is proving to be very helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The machine enables the team to take pictures of the back of the eye and identify any problems using a technique called ‘fundus fluorescein angiography’ – a procedure performed to gather information about the condition of the back of the eye.

Linda added: “People can have various conditions affecting their eyes. For example, a person can have a mole at the back of their eye and not know about it.

“The Optos machine can detect melanomas at the back of the eye and this can be life-saving. In one recent clinic we found three melanomas in just one day. One scan can give us all of the information we need so patients don’t necessarily have to come back for repeat scans.”

Recently, the team have started to train Clinical Support Workers (CSWs) to use the equipment with patients, and hope to increase capacity further.