Veteran Explorer Helped on His Way by Spire Little Aston Hospital

November 2012

As veteran polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team gear up for one of the last remaining polar challenges by attempting to cross Antarctica in winter, they can be assured by the knowledge they should be up to the test after receiving a clean bill of health from a local healthcare provider. Lifescan, part of Spire Little Aston Hospital, has provided health checks including CT scans on vital organs such as the heart, lungs and colon, to ensure the team are fighting fit to take on the coldest journey on Earth.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, along with five colleagues, will begin their journey on 6 December 2012, on board the expedition’s South African ice-strengthened research ship ‘SA Agulhas’. Sir Ranulph was diagnosed with a kidney stone as a result of the health checks; something which could have caused him some problems on the trip had it not been discovered and treated.

Lifescan’s Clinical Director, Dr John Giles said: “We were delighted to be able to provide our comprehensive health checks to the expedition team, to help ensure they have the best possible chance of making a success of this bold challenge. The detection of any unsuspected underlying problems, as well as generally checking that the vital organs are up to such a challenge, is crucial. Any medical problem flaring up whilst on the journey could be much more problematic to treat especially whilst in such a hostile environment.

“The team were the perfect patients, and we were fortunate to have detected the kidney stone in Sir Ranulph¹s scans, allowing for the correct treatment options to be explored before departure, avoiding a potentially difficult situation.”

The Coldest Journey team leaves London with the ultimate goal to complete the journey, but also with the aim of raising 10 million US dollars for Seeing is Believing, a global charitable initiative to fight avoidable blindness. Their journey will be long and arduous; over a period of six months they will travel nearly 4,000 kilometres, mostly in complete darkness and in temperatures as low as -90°C.

Sir Ranulph, whose charitable endeavours on past expeditions have raised a total of £15m, said: “Lifescan are known to be the leaders in the field of CT screening, and I was given excellent information and guidance from staff at each stage of the process. The discovery of the kidney stone meant I was able to follow up immediately with my GP about laser treatment for this.”

Dr Giles at Lifescan concluded: “Of course, before undertaking anything as arduous as this, a comprehensive health check would be necessary. The same is also true for the general public and regular health checks can detect serious underlying illnesses before they become too difficult or even impossible to treat. The latest in CT scanning technology enables us to do just that. Such Lifescan checks are recommended once every five years. Much like an MOT is carried out to check your car is safe to drive, regular health checks can provide peace of mind when it comes to the health of your body.”

For further information about The Coldest Journey, visit

Further information about Lifescan’s services can be found at or call Spire Little Aston Hospital on 0121 353 2444

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Sir Ranulph Fiennes visits Lifescan at Spire Little Aston

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)