A new independent ultrasound clinic will help alleviate lengthy waiting times and ease pressure on GPs, physiotherapists and hospital staff in North Wales.
After more than five years living and working in Australia, Dr Tom Constantine has moved back to the UK and opened a diagnostics company in his hometown of Colwyn Bay.
Employing local sonographers, Coastal Medical Imaging aims to provide support from a modern, leading-edge facility in Abergele Road.
Referred patients will receive their results within days rather than months, as Tom and the team use innovative technology and software to conduct non-obstetric ultrasound scans of musculoskeletal areas of the body as well as the abdomen, kidneys, bladder, pelvis, blood vessels, and more.
Supported by Business Wales, Tom began scouting locations in the autumn before returning to these shores with wife Daisy and their two children, Rupert and Marnie.
An A&E registrar with more than 10 years’ experience in the Australian and UK health systems, he wants to “make a difference” for those living in uncertainty and pain – more than 7,000 people in North Wales alone are on the waiting list each month for a non-obstetric ultrasound scan – as diagnostic units across the country combat backlogs and strain created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While out in Australia we noticed a huge difference in the way their health service was supported by independent clinics in almost every community,” said the 31 year-old, a former pupil at Eirias High School.
“Yet here in North Wales there is nobody doing what we plan to do, offering accessible and affordable ultrasound services in a welcoming, comfortable environment.
“I really want to affect change here, in the area where I grew up, and believe Coastal Medical Imaging will give GPs and physios in particular an extra option when dealing with patients who have a sports injury, abdominal pain or symptoms of ailments such as gall bladder or liver issues.
“That’s what this is about, providing a choice and working in partnership with patients and clinicians, building confidence and trust that we are a high-quality centre where they can refer patients and receive a quick and effective response.”
Tom has invested a significant amount of capital in the business, including a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine, and used local suppliers and contractors to help create the 1,100 sq ft clinic’s relaxed atmosphere.
He is now in discussions with local clinicians and looks forward to opening in the coming weeks.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this and believe it will make a big difference to the lives of not only the patients but GPs and medical staff in this area,” said Tom.
“Having fast access to diagnostics will have an impact on their capacity to see patients, and while the NHS is a wonderful system it is under pressure – we can help to reduce that pressure, significantly.”
“My vision is to eventually open further clinics and increase the number of modalities we offer, such as CT and MRI, to eventually become a ‘one-stop shop’ for diagnostics in the area.
“And to be able to start that journey in the town I love is a huge honour for me, a chance to take the best of the Australian model of independent care and instil some of those values here.
“It is a long-term, sustainable option that will have an effect, so we look forward to forging new relationships and playing our part in lowering waiting times and being there for GPs and hospitals in the months and years ahead as they continue to work hard to provide the best care available to patients.”