A new DXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) unit opened in Station Plaza Health Centre last month (Friday, January 16).
A DXA scan differentiates from an ordinary X-ray in that it uses a low dose of X-rays. The scan emits a similar amount to the background radiation we all normally encounter over the course of a day, which is one tenth less radiation than that of an ordinary X-ray.
Having a scan with a DXA takes up to 20 minutes and requires patients to lie on a couch on their back with legs resting on a cushion. They won’t be put in a ‘tunnel’ or need an injection, and can stay in their clothes unless the clothing has a metal zip in the area or along the spine.
Hastings & Area Osteoporosis Support Group were the organisation behind the DXA unit opening. The service is run by volunteers who have been supporting local people since 2001.
Janet Turner, secretary for the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “The group have been pressing for a DXA scanner service in Hastings for the past 15 years and with the support of the National Osteoporosis Society and other local health professionals we have achieved our goal.”
Retired rheumatology consultant, Dr Ed Henderson, who initially identified the need for this service, was present to cut the ribbon. He said: “I am delighted to see the arrival at the Station Plaza Health Centre of this much-needed and long-overdue service at last locally provided to our community.”
The group’s committee was also in attendance, together with diagnostic radiographer Prina Patel; manager Teo Vogiartis; rheumatology specialist nurse from the Conquest, Elly Fielder; and fracture prevention assistant, Karen Crossan.
Ms Turner added: “Until now, osteoporosis sufferers in Hastings and the surrounding areas had to travel to Eastbourne. This has meant long and difficult journeys, especially for those suffering with spinal fractures. Patients had to wait for a number of months for an appointment. Now the scanner unit is in the Station Plaza and appointment waiting time is a matter of days or weeks. Our aim is to continue helping sufferers and their families in receiving a diagnosis and treatment, as well as raising the level of public awareness of this condition.”
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