Wednesday, 5 September 2007

3000 year wait for CT scan

Egyptian CT scanner.

Quite a lot happening on the UK-radiology front which is one of the reasons I have not been blogging recently.

I set up a new website called www.herefordradiology.co.uk. It's nothing special - just a single page that directs visitors to the main website and I wouldn't have bothered had not a mysterious shyster been buying up all the specialty names in almost every town in the UK. So now they own aberdeencardiology, aberdeenradiology etc. Hundreds of sites, but I managed to buy ours before them. Presumably they will be approaching each group and offering the domain name for sale or threaten to sell it to their competitors. Anyway, I put it to good use and used the website and search engine optimisation to get visitors from the Birmingham and West Midlands and this has now started to work with first page google ranking already.

One of the Birmingham visitors today was the Museum and Art Gallery. They wanted us to scan their Egyptian Mummies. I would have loved to do this. It would have been really fascinating and would have given us national publicity, but, thanks to being ripped off by Toshiba when they sold us the scanner, our image processing software isn't up to the job of producing those 3D reconstructions of the whole skeleton. Also I was wary of the press. You can't really predict what sort of spin they would choose to put on it. It could be something corney but harmless like "Birmingham Mummy waits 3000 years for a scan" or maybe more damaging like "NHS scanner used on 3000 year old corpse but cancer patients denied scans" Anyway, with great sadness I had to direct them elsewhere. Just wait till I buy my own scanner!

The other landmark recently was our first international referral. I was contacted from Thailand by someone who found me on the internet and I carried out a scan when they visited the UK, faxing the report back to a consultant in Thailand.

The income from our venture has been put to good use. The collapse of Atos Origin as a 2nd wave diagnostics provider not only cheered me up a great deal but provided us with an MRI radiographer looking for work. We have been able to employ him to extend the working day for our NHS patients and we now run 8 to 6.30 weekdays and alternate Saturday mornings whereas previously we only ran 9 to 5 weekdays. Oddly, the success of our low cost private service and increased NHS provision has not reduced our private referrals to the local Nuffield Hospital who pay the full rate. What seems to be happening is that, as we become better known as serious players, we are attracting insured private patients on the basis of reputation and quality rather than just price.

So far it really does seem like a virtuous circle.

2 comments:

Mrs Thistletwat said...

Hello Dr Ray (first name Xavier perchance?)

Thank you for stopping by my humble prickly bush, and for letting me know about your service in Hereford. I was pleased with the service in Cheltenham they gave me 6 big pages of Rorschach inkblots allegedly representing my spine and reproductive bits, although admittedly the VQ scan I had while pregnant was much prettier.

I will consider your service should I need to do it again, but "softer" factors come into play such as an extra hour on the journey when you're in excruciating pain and have a screaming infant in tow.

I hadn't realised it was charity subsidised (I'd have put a tenner in the box had I known, but it wasn't forefront on my mind), but it was way cheaper than the £600 BUPA were charging.

Wishing you lots of luck with your venture.

Kind regards

Mrs T

Dr Ray said...

Thank you Mrs T.
I honestly can't fault the Cobalt Appeal and they provided our scans in Hereford until we got our own scanner.
Like you say Hereford is less accessible than Cheltenham and has less going for it for a weekend away so we have to try that bit harder to successfully compete. We do it partially on price but mostly by trying to offer an individual service to patients and GPs.
This is all new to me but it is working out and we can now afford to run the scanner 2 hours a day longer for NHS patients.
Hope thing go well for you.
Regards Xavier (yes you were right)