Six Doncaster patients have been referred to other hospitals – because they are too obese to use the scanners provided.
In light of the figures, a spokesperson for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital said the trust would consider buying wider scanners when the current scanners are due to be renewed in the near future.
Fiona Littlewood, general manager of diagnostic and pharmacy care group at the trust, said: “We are mindful that the confines of an MRI scanner can be uncomfortable for any patient but we strive to make the service accessible to everyone.
“Some of our patients require general anaesthetic to keep them comfortable and others require the space of a wide-bore scanner which, unfortunately, we do not have on site.
“We performed MRI scans on over 453,000 patients at the trust last year, so the percentage of patients who were referred to trusts with wide-bore scanning facilities is very small.
“However, when we look to replace our current scanner in the next two to three years, we will consider the costs of purchasing a wide- bore scanner, and providing sufficient magnetic field protection where it is housed, and the costs of referring a small number of patients elsewhere so that we can make the best use of public funds.”
A spokesman from the Obesity Forum, a charity that seeks to raise awareness of obesity, said: “Every district general hospital should now never need to transfer their patients for scans.
“The economic case for investing in their own scanner could have been made years ago when it became clear that obesity numbers were not about to decline.
“Indeed, the fat were getting fatter and therefore likely to require more scanning episodes.
“Despatching patients to hospitals miles away is both cumulatively expensive for the hospital and degrading for the individual.”
The information was obtained from a Freedom of Information request, which revealed a number of incidents during the last three years where hospitals countrywide were unable to perform a scan.
Professor Dame Sally Davies has said that obesity should be treated as a national priority and recommended the Government should include the issue on its national risk planning.
By 2050 obesity is predicted to affect 60 per cent of adult men, 50 per cent of adult women and 25 per cent of children.