STAFF at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton are celebrating after a charity donated a new £500,000 state-of-the-art radiotherapy CT scanner to their radiotherapy department.

Fundraisers from Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment (SURE), Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, Mayor of Taunton Deane Catherine Herbert, hospital staff and patients cheered as the scanner was officially opened at the Beacon Centre on June 14.

The scanner, which was donated by SURE, is a vital piece of equipment which is essential in the planning of radiotherapy treatment.

Jo Penman, head of radiotherapy services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: "This new CT scanner will provide our patients with a state of the art scanning, which is quicker for patients and provides greater accuracy with better image quality.

"We want to thank our charity, SURE, and its fundraisers as well as the people of Somerset for their generosity in raising this essential funding to pay for the new scanner.

"The work that SURE does continues to support our radiotherapy department with its endless dedication and efforts and this benefits patients with cancer across the whole of our region.

"Our staff have worked really hard over the last months to ensure that our patients have been scanned for their radiotherapy in a professional and efficient way without incurring any delays to their treatment."

Somerset County Gazette:

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, Mayor of Taunton Deane, Catherine Herbert and fundraisers from SURE open the new radiotherapy CT scanner at Musgrove Park Hospital

The radiotherapy CT planning scanner is the first major piece of equipment to be upgraded as part of a three year replacement programme.

It will enable the Beacon Centre to continue to provide the latest range of radiotherapy treatments for patients.

Speaking at the event, Barrie Palmer, founder of SURE said: "I could not have dreamed that this would have gone so well.

"It is fantastic that this is here, it is flourishing, it is a fantastic facility not only for patients here but for the whole of Somerset."

Catherine Herbert, Mayor of Taunton Deane, said having the new facility locally is 'so important'.

"Musgrove Park Hospital, its dedicated staff and volunteers tirelessly serve our community every day.

"It is essential that they have the equipment they need to give them the best chance of helping as many people as possible.

"We are very lucky to have Musgrove Park Hospital in the town and it is thanks to a lot of hard work to raise funds that we are able to open this new CT scanner."

Paul Alway, chairman of SURE, thanked the charity's supporters for their generous donations. 

"Having provided the orginal radiotherapy CT scanner when the Beacon Centre opened in 2009, SURE readily agreed to take on raising funds to replace it, plus two years maintenance," Paul said.

"Our amazing supporters raised over £550,000 in just 18 months, thanks to some generous legacies and the fantastic response from the people of Somerset. 

"Our supporters are committed to ensuring the Beacon Centre and Musgrove Park has the equipment required to deliver first class cancer diagnosis and treatment."