£1.5m scanner will accommodate patients weighing up to 43 stones

A scanner capable of accommodating patients weighing almost 43 stones has been installed at Cannock Chase Hospital.

The cutting-edge equipment will help cater for overweight and obese patients. Its arrival was filmed for Channel 5’s Big Body Squad series. The £1.5 million scanner, twice the cost of a standard model, is the first of its kind in the region

It comes just a month after it was revealed the number of obese adults in Cannock has increased from 14,500 in 2006/07 to 17,200 in 2010/11.

The number of obese children in Cannock has also doubled in the past six years. One in eight youngsters of reception age in the town is now dangerously overweight.

Most hospital scanners can accommodate people weighing just over 21 stones.

The 3T open-bore MRI machine is one of the most powerful in the world, twice as strong as any other model on the market and provides more accurate and faster imaging.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said its arrival was a statement of intent by board members after fears by patients that the hospital may close because of dwindling services.

Chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout said: “MRI technology has developed significantly over the last 10 years and we are delighted that our patients will benefit from it.

“The fact that the scanner is being installed at Cannock Chase Hospital should also help to reassure the community of the trust’s commitment to the hospital.”

The Big Body Squad series, now in its second season, follows the emergency staff and medics who look after the needs of Britain’s increasing overweight population.

The focus of the programme is the effect of obesity on the struggling healthcare system. A date for the broadcast has not yet been fixed.