When Marie Fennessy joined Paul Strickland Scanner Centre recently, she instantly realised that she had come somewhere very special.
“My first impression when I looked around the centre was that all the staff were so friendly and enthusiastic. It’s an amazing place for patients. They are given time and the opportunity to ask questions and examinations are tailored to the individual patient needs. Patient satisfaction is a priority, which is a great starting point.”
Marie recently joined Paul Strickland Scanner Centre as our new MRI superintendent, replacing Linda Culver who had been personally appointed by Dr Paul Strickland in the 1980s and had headed up our MRI service until her retirement in late 2022.
Marie qualified as a radiographer in 2001 and, apart from relatively brief stints at hospitals in Kent and the Republic of Ireland, spent virtually her entire career at a district general hospital (DGH) NHS trust near Mount Vernon. She said: “I initially started out as a rotational radiographer training in CT and subsequently MRI, which turned out to be my main interest. In 2012 I began deputising for the MRI superintendent and was appointed into the lead role in 2015, until coming to Paul Strickland Scanner Centre in January.
“Working in the DGH was a huge challenge and privilege – although it was a large hospital serving a substantial portion of west London, we were under-resourced both with staffing and equipment, having just one MRI scanner, when compared with three MRI scanners at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre. The waiting list was enormous. Particularly after the pandemic, it felt like an impossible situation to turn around.
“Sadly many patients had to be outsourced for scanning elsewhere; it was a particularly stressful time.”
Marie really enjoys her job. “It’s a great balance, I love the technical aspect of being an MRI radiographer, but also love the patient interaction, so I really have the best of both worlds.”
It was our long-serving superintendent for MRI, Linda Culver, who tipped Marie off about the vacancy for an MRI lead at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre that would arise due to her retirement.
“I’ve known Linda socially for several years and she always spoke so highly of Paul Strickland Scanner Centre. Radiography is a small world and several previous colleagues were also promoting
the scanner centre.”
“There’s so much more emphasis placed on training, learning and developing. Paul Strickland Scanner Centre really invests in equipment and staff. Sadly, quite often in the NHS there just isn’t the scope to expand services as we do here.”
“Prior to joining, I knew Paul Strickland Scanner Centre was a charity set up to transform patients’ lives through medical imaging and that voluntary donations play a vital role in funding equipment. In many other hospitals, acquiring funding for new equipment can be an extremely difficult and a bureaucratic process; you come up against multiple obstacles. At Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, things seem to be a lot more straightforward. From my experience, if you submit a sound and clinically justified business case for equipment, you are likely to get it funded. It really is a breath of fresh air.”
Marie is very impressed with the new MRI scanners that were installed at Paul Strickland Centre in 2022. “The new MRI scanners make such a difference to our patients; they are wide bore, helping patients with claustrophobia. There is the ability to tilt the head part of the MR bed, for patients with neck issues. Extra padding for comfort, particularly important for longer scans and the beautiful woodland and beach scenes on the walls to create a calming space. In addition to all of the patient comfort benefits, we are utilising the latest scanning technologies and innovations to constantly improve, and in some cases speed up MRI scans.
“Care is fantastic here. Radiographers take time with patients to make sure they are comfortable, which I believe has potential clinical benefits.”
“Imagine you are an oncology patient whose life is often consumed with hospital appointments. Knowing you are attending a welcoming environment, that puts you at the centre, that can make a world of difference.”
Marie is well aware of the vital role that voluntary donations play Paul Strickland Scanner Centre.‘Fundraisers and donations are vital.’
“Fundraisers and donors really do make a difference to patients and allow us to use the latest technology and constantly improve diagnostic quality of scans. Fundraising and donations are vital.”
Marie has launched a £25,000 fundraising drive for a second power injector for our MRI department.
A power injector is used to inject contrast into patients with a very high level of precision during their MRI scan and having a second device would mean we can increase the number of patients we scan using the injector. We have 3 scanners and share one injector. A second injector could improve scan image quality and increase the number of clinical research trials we can support.
If you would like to make a donation to go towards her appeal go to our Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/campaign/insideview