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Updated 9 December 2021

22 September 2021

A new ultrasound machine at Dorset County Hospital will help provide earlier diagnosis for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Friends of Dorset County Hospital have raised an incredible £20,000 to purchase a new ultrasound machine for the Rheumatology Department.

The machine will be able to assist in the early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks healthy tissues causing pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 people aged 16 and over in the UK with the team at DCH seeing around 4,000 patients a year with 160 patients referred every month.

Scans can be used to check for joint inflammation and damage, to diagnose the condition and to check how the condition is developing.

The new ultrasound scan will allow a picture of the patient’s joints to be created using high-frequency sound waves.

Rheumatology Consultant at DCH Dr Mihaela Florea said: “Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose as the diagnosis is not always obvious following clinical examination and in such cases further investigations are needed, including an ultrasound.

“Having one available in the department makes a huge difference in terms of avoiding further delays in diagnosis and treatment, which is essential to be initiated as soon possible to prevent damages to the joints.”

Vice-chairman of the Friends Annette Kent added: “We are really pleased to have funded this vital piece of equipment for the Rheumatology Department.

“It’s been a difficult 18 months for everyone but we are so appreciative of the continued support we have received from the community.”

For more information about the initiative, or to support it, contact the Friends team on 01305 255896, email friends@dchft.nhs.uk or visit www.friendsofdorsetcountyhospital.co.uk

Vice-chairman of the Friends Annette Kent, Friends Trustee Daphne Conroy, Manager of the Friends Sharon Merritt, HCA Tracy Watts and Rheumatology Consultant Dr Mihaela Florea