YOUNGSTERS suffering from muscle and joint pain are being treated more quickly than ever thanks to the fundraising efforts of staff.

A new ultrasound scanner at Southampton General Hospital means that children with rheumatic conditions can be instantly diagnosed and treated at the same appointment, rather than three.

The hospital’s paediatric rheumatology team took part in sponsored bike rides and held a bake sale and a gala night to pay for the £27,000 machine and £1,000 for training staff to use it.

Sarah Hartfree, paediatric rheumatology specialist nurse, said: “Rheumatic conditions can be very difficult to diagnose from symptoms alone.

“Seeing how much of an impact the scanner has had has only spurred us on to raise more money for the service.”