MRI Kitten Club shortlisted for HSJ Value Award

University Hospitals of North Midlands Imaging Team have been shortlisted for a HSJ Value Award for the 'Kitten Club' project to reduce the need for children requiring a general anaesthetic for a MRI scan.

The Kitten Club was introduced at Royal Stoke University Hospital in 2015 with help from UHNM Charity and the purchase of a small-scale imitation MRI scanner complete with audio effects of the scanner noises. Children that have MRI appointments are asked to come and attend the kitten club in groups of four, one or two weeks in advance, to get accustomed to the procedure and noises. The service is run by a paediatric MR radiographer and a play specialist.

An MRI scan time can typically take between 30 to 40 minutes for the majority of patients and the equipment can produce very loud noises, which for children can be a frightening experience. The success of children attending their appointment without the need for a general anaesthetic is 25 times higher than if the patient did not attend the Kitten Club.

Consultant Paediatric Radiologist, Dr Marius Grima said: "The Kitten Club has had a significant impact in avoiding unnecessary use of general anaesthetic on children between 5 to 6 years of age. This is a great benefit to the children to avoid complications that come with anaesthesia at such a young age and also for the parents as watching your child go under general anaesthetic can be very traumatic."

The team have been shortlisted in the category 'Improving the Value of Diagnostic Services Award' where judges will assess whether the project has achieved improved value in diagnostic services, which have simultaneously delivered financial savings and improved patient experience.

Dr Grima added: "Not only has this been a great success for our young patients, it has also saved the trust money and resources through not needing the time of a consultant anaesthetist and medication."  

Steve Rushton, UHNM Charity Manager said: "We're delighted that the small-scale scanner we purchased for the team back in 2015 has resulted in avoiding the need to use general anaesthetic in children, which is a great achievement."