The design and manufacture of high specification trailers for the medical profession has become a significant area of growth for bodybuilder Paneltex, with the latest trailer being supplied to Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland. This unique 13.6m tandem axle trailer houses the latest state of the art mobile CT scanning equipment that delivers high quality imaging and reduced CT waiting times at the hospital.
The new trailer is currently based outside the Radiology Department at Antrim Area Hospital but has the capability to be transported and deployed to any of the 6 hospital sites to meet fluctuations in service demand across the Northern Trust’s region.
With the trailer body purpose designed and built at the Paneltex factory in Hull and based on a trailer chassis manufactured by their Martrans trailer manufacturing division, the new unit enhances the CT service given by Northern Health and Social Care Trust, providing a modern and comfortable environment for both patients and staff at the hospital.
As David Wallace, General Manager Radiology at Antrim Area Hospital says, "The Northern Trust’s estates services and medical physics services worked along side the Department of Health to ensure that the mobile scanner exceeded all of the CT team’s high expectations. The size and functionality of the trailer unit is such that it is capable of undertaking an increased range of examinations for all in-patients, GP and out-patient referrals, including cardiac CT scanning."
The Paneltex trailer body is split into two rooms with the scanner room occupying 2/3rds of the trailer, and featuring expanding pods on both sides to provide a long wide room with good access all around the full body scanner. This scanner room has been fully lead lined by Paneltex, including the push out pod sections, to reduce emissions from the trailer to below those specified by the Radiology Department at Antrim Area Hospital.
The outer room within the trailer body houses a control room for up to 3 staff, together with all the computer equipment necessary to operate the scanner itself.
Two air conditioning units of 10.4 kW and 8.5 kW respectively provide critical temperature control throughout the trailer and deal efficiently with the heat generated during operation of the CT scanner.
According to Chris Berridge, managing director of Paneltex, "We worked in close cooperation with Medical Imaging Systems of Ireland, who supplied and installed the Toshiba 64 slice body scanner in the trailer. This machine is capable of creating high-resolution 3-D images for medical analysis in approximately 12 seconds and is the first trailer-mounted 64 slice scanner to be commissioned by any Trust in Northern Ireland."
Pedestrian access to the control room is through specially designed access stairs to meet Health & Safety requirements, including a shallow slope, large non-slip steps, and double handrails, whilst patients are admitted directly into the scanner room via a full-size hydraulic bed lift recessed into the trailer side.
The hydraulic levelling legs and hydraulic expanding pod operation are all controlled remotely to make setting up the trailer a safe and fast option.
"We’re probably one of the few trailer manufacturers in this country that can design, manufacture and support such complex trailers. Within the Paneltex organisation, we manufacture not only the trailer chassis and the trailer body but also all the furniture. With our proven temperature control product assembly skills, this allows us to exercise complete control of the final quality of the end trailers," said Chris Berridge.