“New MRI and Ultrasound services for patients in the Greater Manchester Area”

Manchester, 22 January 2007

Patients in Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas now have access to additional diagnostic imaging services. Atos Origin, a leading UK provider of managed medical services and an international IT services company, has developed the new services working in partnership with the NHS. Additional MRI and Ultrasound services are now available at Withington Community Hospital, Capio Oaklands in Salford, Bolton Diabetes Centre in Chorley Street and Monton Medical Centre in Eccles.

The local NHS has purchased the new services to provide GPs and other healthcare professionals with services that they can refer to directly without first making a referral to a hospital consultant. The new capacity should result in shorter waiting times for patients and reduce the pressure felt in hospital outpatient departments. When patients do need to be referred to a consultant they will be accompanied by the results of their investigation which will prevent any delay in their treatment.

The aim is to provide health services that sit between GP and hospital services so that patients will wait no more than 18 weeks from being referred by their GP, through assessment and diagnosis to treatment.

GPs have been provided with information on how to refer and will be able to provide patients with a choice of where and when they have diagnostic services in the future. Future plans will enable patients to book their own appointments using the NHS Choose and Book programme, either by using a telephone or on the internet.

General Manager for Diagnostic Services at Atos Origin, Dr Laura Crawford said, “We are delighted to have been selected to provide care on behalf of the NHS to patients across Greater Manchester. Our aim is provide fast access for GPs and patients, making a valuable contribution to reducing the time that patients have to wait to be given a diagnosis”.

The new services will be provided using state of the art technology, with much of the equipment being provided by Philips Medical Systems. The highly trained staff will be working to exceptionally high standards, including a maximum 10 day waiting period from being referred to having had their investigation.

The Director of Diagnostics for the PCTs in Greater Manchester, Andy Bacon said “This development is part of making care more accessible and bringing diagnostic tests closer to patients; it will enable GPs and primary care to get high quality, complex services faster and contribute to achieving shorter waits before patients receive any treatment they may need”.

These new services will be further expanded in April to include DEXA scanning and Computerised Tomography (CT). DEXA scanning measures the density of bones and is particularly helpful in diagnosing brittle bones in female patients who may be suffering from osteoporosis. A further 26 sites will be opened, including areas within Cheshire and Merseyside in April this year.

Atos Origin is a unique service provider to the UK healthcare sector, providing occupational health, primary care, capability assessment and diagnostic services to more than two million people each year. Atos Origin also delivers IT programmes at the heart of the health service modernisation programme, increasing patient choice and improving the patient experience.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.5 billion and it employs over 47,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes thinning and weakening of normal bone. The definition of osteoporosis is a decrease of the density of bone mass. When this occurs, a patient with osteoporosis will have weaker bones and have a higher risk of bone fracture.

What is an MRI
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a fairly new technique that has been used since the beginning of the 1980s.

The MRI scan uses magnetic and radio waves, meaning that there is no exposure to X-rays or any other damaging forms of radiation.

What is a DEXA scan
DEXA stands for 'dual energy x-ray absorptiometry'. It is a test that measures the density of bones. In general, the more dense the bone, the stronger it is, and the less likely it is to break

For further details please contact:
Caroline Crouch
Tel: +44 20 7830 4233
Email: caroline.crouch@atosorigin.com