A HOSPITAL Friends group has raised funds for a new scanner to allow pregnant women to receive screening closer to home.

A new portable scanning machine has been funded for Evesham Community Hospital’s antenatal clinics by donations from the group.

The Philips CX50 allows women in their first few months to have more comprehensive screening for conditions such as Down’s syndrome closer to home. The previous machine was not able to calculate the very precise measurements needed to identify the chance of a baby developing certain conditions.

It helps if women are able to access this scan close to home, so Aldona Morrison, midwife sonographer lead for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, approached the Friends for help to raise over £28,000 for a new machine.

Keeping appointments close to home is helpful for mums-to-be and the additional equipment will mean that the local facility is able to offer an even higher quality scanning service.

Weekly clinics are being set up at the hospital offering these tests to women, with around 60 scans expected to be carried out every month.

Ms Morrison said: “I am so grateful to the Friends of Evesham Community Hospital for allowing us to offer such a vital service in the community.

“The purchasing of this new equipment will help us to further improve our services and make this significant test more accessible to women.”

Frances Smith from the Friends said: “As supporters of the hospital we are pleased that by purchasing this important piece of equipment, expectant mothers can access this service closer to home and we are pleased that the acute trust is expanding this valuable service at Evesham.”