A new agreement has been signed between Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Sectra, which will see Sectra’s enterprise imaging solution be rolled out to a sixth NHS trust to improve patient care.

The agreement means that the trust will now share a common picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) with five other trusts in the region. They are Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, and University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, all of whom have already deployed the system.

With the PACS now extended across six different trusts, healthcare professionals and radiologists will be able to access radiology imaging – such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds – regardless of which of the hospitals in Surrey and Sussex captured it.

This should help improve patient safety, with important imaging always available for acute and emergency patients, even if they are at a different hospital from where their original imaging was taken.

Dr Tony Newman-Sanders, chief of cancer and diagnostics at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This is an important step in the strategic future of our diagnostic services that will equip our professionals with 21st-century technology that is fit for the future. It will allow us to align with fellow providers in Surrey and Sussex, and provide the means to develop imaging services that are better able to meet the needs of our patients.”

The cloud-based system will also support PACS-based reporting of imaging which will create the potential for shared review and the reporting of imaging by in-demand specialists who may be located at different hospitals.

As well as improving patient safety and reducing infrastructure burdens, the development also helps the trust to meet the recommendations in Sir Mike Richards’ review of diagnostic imaging in the NHS. Plus, it means the trust has become an equal partner in the South East 2 Imaging Network.

Jane Rendall, UK and Ireland managing director for Sectra, said: “Sharing a common connected imaging system opens the potential for regional workforce transformation in radiology, in ways that can improve equity and access for patients to important diagnostic expertise.

“More immediately, diagnosticians in sites across Surrey and Sussex have told us they are excited about being able to better support patients as they move around the region – whether that’s cancer patients, trauma cases or a whole range of pathways where imaging is vital to effective diagnosis and decisions.”