A NEW x-ray machine will help tackle crowding in Swindon’s emergency department.

Hospital chiefs have spent £110,000 on the new state-of-the art Siemens x-ray kit.

The new technology, which can be used to check broken bones as well as glass caught in nasty cuts, will help ease the pressure in Great Western Hospital’s busy emergency department (ED).

The kit was unveiled as GWH marked the contribution of staff on World Radiography Day.

Laura Beach, radiology manager, said: “This machine will allow us to do ED patients quicker. We can do a wider range of patients. If you think about ED and the range of patients that come through and their different mobility levels, here we have the ability to move trolleys in and out.”

The new unit is staffed 24/7 by a team led by Rachael Hilton, a superintendent radiographer. “Trauma is my passion,” she said.

The hospital is investing more in its radiography capacity, with a new mobile CT scanner recently introduced onto the wards.

GWH employs 46 radiographers, spread throughout the hospital. Often walking between wards, they can clock up a huge number of steps every day. One GWH radiographer tracked themselves as having walked six miles through the hospital in a single day.

Nationally, there is a shortage of the professionals – who are trained to operate x-rays, CT scanners and MRI machines that look deep into the body.

“Because so many patients need some kind of imaging scans, radiographers across the country are in high demand,” said manager Laura Beach.

The hospital celebrated the contribution of these health professionals on World Radiography Day on Wednesday.

Senior radiographer Nicholas Taylor, who made the jump from scanning poorly pets as a veterinary nurse 12 years ago, said: “We may often be in the background but without our skills and expertise the hospital would come to a standstill, as teams would be blind as to what’s going on inside their patients’ bodies.”

The experienced radiographer said it was not unusual to be asked to look for shards of glass left inside wounds or sewing needles "where people have stood on them".