A PIONEER who helped to save the lives of people with cancer through early diagnosis using innovative scanners has died.
Dr Paul Strickland OBE, who founded the Scanner Centre in Mount Vernon Hospital which bears his name, was 92.
The centre at the hospital, in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, was established in 1985 and for 26 years Dr Strickland played a significant role, first as medical manager and then as a trustee and honorary medical director.
In 2011 he was named Founder and Honorary Life President of the centre.
Dr Strickland went to Mount Vernon Hospital in 1946 as a clinical assistant. He became consultant radiotherapist in 1956 and then director of what is now the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre from 1970 to 1982.
With his extensive experience as a radiotherapy doctor, he was convinced that early scanning could save the lives of patients with cancer and other serious diseases and he tried to persuade the NHS to install a CT scanner at Mount Vernon, but funds were not available.
He felt strongly that Mount Vernon should have its own scanner, and launched the Mount Vernon Scanner Appeal in February 1983.
With ‘rage and enthusiasm’ – his own words – he started to raise donations to obtain a CT scanner, aiming to reach £1,250,000 within three years.
He captured the imagination of the public and in just two years £1,700,000 was raised, enough to fund a CT and an MRI scanner and the building to house them.
Since 1985, the centre has continued as a charity.
The CT and MRI scanners have been replaced and added to, and when Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a new technology became available, in 1997 the centre installed the first clinical PET scanner in the UK.
In 2011, after 65 years of service to patients attending Mount Vernon Hospital, Dr Strickland retired once again, but he remained ever interested in the centre’s activities.
A spokeswoman for the centre said: “Paul Strickland was a great inspiration to all who knew him, and his lasting legacy is the success story that is the scanner centre.”