A £4.6m hospital extension has opened to patients this week, following a year of construction work by Lindum Group.

Scunthorpe General Hospital began using its new MRI suite on Monday, doubling capacity at its site in Church Lane. It comes after Lindum constructed an extension to house new state-of-the-art scanning equipment.

Hospital Director of Estates and Facilities, Jug Johal, said: “The £4.6 million extension of our Scunthorpe MRI suite is a key aspect of our ongoing work to improve our buildings and facilities on the site.

“Having this additional scanner in place will enable us to offer patients a vastly improved service. It will double our scanning capacity at Scunthorpe, allowing our specialist clinicians to see people more quickly, diagnose and monitor conditions and get them the treatment they need.

“It will also increase our capability to carry out a wide range of specialist scans, while the addition of new anaesthetic and recovery areas and additional monitoring equipment means that patients being treated in Intensive Care will no longer have to be taken over to Grimsby for scans.”

The new MRI room has additional features to help patients relax during scans, including Sky Inside ceiling panels – LED panels which give the impression you’re looking out at a beautiful blue sky – and a calming mural spanning one wall.

The MRI table can also be dropped far lower than the hospital’s older equipment, which is more comfortable for patients.

As well creating space for the additional scanner, the contract also involved making improvements to the waiting area and changing facilities to make them as inviting and relaxing as possible.

Lindum was awarded the construction contract after a competitive tender process.

Contracts manager Michael Glynn said: “This was a particularly complicated project as the new structure was being built on an unused piece of land in the middle of the hospital campus, making site access tough.

“We couldn’t get a crane on site so when it came to delivery of the steel structure, we had to liaise closely with the hospital to close a neighbouring service yard. Forward planning was crucial throughout the contract.

“The hospital remained in use so we had to give at least a month’s notice of any work that could impact its operations. We carried out some work out of hours, particularly during the last month of the scheme, where we worked through the night to connect services in the new building to services in the existing building.

“We also had to navigate the additional complications of the covid pandemic. This was especially important as we were in a live NHS site.”

Andrew Barley was the first person to use the new scanner this week. The 67-year-old, from East Butterwick, said: “I think the new improvements are absolutely brilliant. I felt more relaxed than the last time I had an MRI done. I have been coming to Scunthorpe hospital since the 1980s and I cannot praise the staff enough.”