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 Friends.

The Philips CX50 allows women in their first trimester 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 required for nuchal translucency testing, used 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 more than £28,000 for a new machine.

Weekly clinics are being set up at the hospital offering tests to women, with about 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 of 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.”