A CHART-TOPPING band member has attended a New Forest hospital to unveil a “state-of-the-art” scanner.

The new £906,000 kit is expected to give the radiology team at Lymington Hospital higher quality images, allowing them to identify health issues “quickly and effectively”.

Dire Straits bassist John Illsley was at the hospital on Monday, along with Southern Health’s medical director Dr Steve Tomkins, as the new Magnetom Altea 1.5T MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner was unveiled.

Illsley’s tunes are said to be frequently heard across the hospital as one of the most requested bands to be played into the scanner to relax patients.

He said: “I’m very flattered and it’s good to know that our songs work on so many levels and hopefully give patients another place to escape to when they are having treatment.

“Dire Straits received a lot of acknowledgement around the world and it’s lovely for our music to be used in a hospital setting as well – I find that as important as anything else we’ve ever done.

“I’ve been living here for 32 years and it’s a privilege for us in Lymington to see this hospital go from strength to strength – it’s a wonderful achievement to have such a remarkable piece of equipment at our local hospital.”

The hospital was forced to decommission its old scanner earlier this year and has been using a mobile device in the hospital’s carpark instead.

The original scanner was said to be over 10 years old and becoming increasingly difficult to source parts for.

Dr Rachel Anderson, medical director for south west Hampshire, added: “A good patient experience is the key to ensuring good patient care. The new scanner means that patients are less claustrophobic, can be seen more quickly and can have their vital investigation close to home.”

One of the first patients to use the new scanner described it as a “wonderful modern piece of technology”.

Lymington Hospital Friends donated funds for a new CT scanner in 2019 and a new ultrasound scanner in 2020.

Arthur England, trustee and joint chair said: “We are delighted to now see the new MRI scanner, provided by Southern Health, complete the fantastic range of imaging equipment in the radiology department to deliver a great service to patients.”