Construction works to replace an end-of-life gamma camera and to refurbish the dispensary in the Nuclear Medicine Department in the basement of the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Tower Block has got underway.  

Kier Construction has already secured the two areas so that they can carry out their work with minimal disruption to patients and staff. 

The new dispensary will be complete by Christmas and the new gamma camera will be ready for its first patient in May 2024.

This is the first phase of a three-stage project which, next financial year, will also see significant drainage works in the department to separate hot (radioactive) and cold (non-radioactive) waste, followed by a complete refurbishment of the whole department.

Patient appointments and treatments will continue as usual whilst the work is carried out.

Lewis Saundry, project manager for strategic estates at Royal Cornwall Hospitals, said: “This department needs a refurbishment. It offers a vital service to the trust and we are going to do it in a phased approach, first of which is the gamma camera and the dispensary.”

Rachel Rhodes, team lead in nuclear medicine, said: “The new camera that is being installed is still a gamma camera but it is more diverse so it will be able to do more examinations than our existing camera.

"Our existing camera is very limited because of its hardware, software and its age. With the new camera we will be able to scan a lot more patients which will mean our patient flow will be better, our patient lists will be reduced and it will mean we can introduced different studies into the department.”