A £30,000 cash boost from the Friends of St Michael's Hospital has helped to make it possible for the X-ray department to become the first in Cornwall to have a fully digital radiology machine. The equipment has replaced the old unit with the latest technology, allowing images to appear instantly on the screen after an X-ray has been taken. "The instant image process we now have replaces the old CR plates system that was in place in the department", said Tracy Cayton-Smith, medical physics superintendent radiographer at St Michael's. "With the old system the images had to be removed from the machine to be developed. This process took around two minutes. The new equipment provides better image quality than before, and reduces the time to take an X-ray by around 50%, that means saving around five minutes. A lower radiation dose is also used, which is safer and better for our patients." The unit cost more than £383,000 to install and is part of a clinical site development programme which has seen an investment in completed and ongoing projects of more than £30m in the last 18 months.