A new acute imaging centre has opened at St Mary’s hospital in London to offer rapid diagnostics to patients.

The new $7m (£4m) centre will be equipped with a GE 3-tesla magnetic resonance scanner, the first in Europe, and a 256-slice computed tomography scanner, the first in the UK.

The new machines will enable staff to meet the needs of critically ill patients and scan an increasing number of patients non-invasively, hospital authorities said.

The centre will also support St Mary’s new trauma services, scheduled to begin in 2010.