Southland Hospital’s aging MRI scanner is to be removed and replaced by a new $1.6million scanner, believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.
Southern DHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming said 16 years ago the Southland community had fundraised to buy the current scanner for the former Southland District Health Board, and it had served the community well for many years.
“However, over the past 16 years technology has advanced, meaning that Southlanders have to travel to outside the province for special scans that the old scanner cannot provide. It is now time to replace this very old scanner with a new one that will allow more Southlanders to be treated closer to home, in their own community.
“The new scanner, supplied by Philips Healthcare, will be the first of its kind in New Zealand and will include features which will make the experience of having an MRI much more comfortable and less stressful for patients. This is expected to improve examination quality and reduce the number of general anaesthetics and sedation required for patients who experience anxiety due to claustrophobia or other concerns,” he said.
The old scanner will cease operation on 14 August and will be carefully decommissioned and replaced by the new one, with full services scheduled to resume on 1 October.
Services will continue to be provided for acute patients who require an MRI during this time.
Southern DHB’s Radiology Department is working in partnership with Pacific Radiology to access its local facilities for urgent scans for stable patients – although the number of emergency MRI requests is very low. Patients who are not considered stable, who require an urgent MRI, will be transferred to Dunedin Hospital.
In anticipation of the seven week decommissioning and installation, the Radiology Department has been working to reduce the waiting list for planned and elective patients by completing as many MRI scans as possible before 14 August.
As of 23 July there were 226 patients booked for an MRI scan at Southland Hospital. Of these, all but five have been offered an appointment and the majority will receive theirs prior to the outage. The remaining patients will receive their scans using the new scanner. Radiology staff will be contacting patients to advise them of the situation.
Mr Fleming thanked Southlanders for their patience while the old scanner is removed and the new one commissioned. “While the old scanner was a fantastic fundraising achievement that served Southlanders for many years, I’m delighted that the new scanner will soon be installed and that patients can be treated closer to home and more comfortably,” he said.
Frequently Asked Questions about Replacement of the MRI Scanner at Southland Hospital.
What is an MRI scanner?:
Why does Southland Hospital need a new MRI scanner?:
How much will the new scanner cost and who will pay for it?:
How long will it take until the new scanner is operating?:
What will happen to MRI services for Southlanders during that time?:
What about people who are on the waiting list for an MRI scan?
Are you contacting patients to tell them what is happening?
Who should people contact if they have questions?
Patients can contact the Radiology Department at Southland Hospital (03) 218-1949.
Members of the media should contact SDHB Communications on [email protected]