Southland Hospital’s new $2 million MRI scanner is now in place and ready to scan its first patients today (Wednesday 30 September), Southern DHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming said today.
The new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, which is manufactured in the Netherlands by Philips Healthcare, is the first of its kind in New Zealand and has been installed in Southland Hospital’s Radiology Department over the past seven weeks.
It replaces the MRI scanner that the Southland community fundraised to buy 16 years ago and, while it had served the community well over the years, the newly installed scanner is better equipped to meet modern needs.
Mr Fleming said the advantages of the new scanner include that it has a 70cm bore, which allows for larger patients to be scanned in Southland. The new machine will be more comfortable for patients, as it includes a special screen to help patients relax, follow directions, minimize motion, reduce stress and the need for sedation.
The new MRI will also provide greater image quality for scans and be 80% quieter to operate. The new BlueSeal magnet technology requires less helium than traditional MRIs, which is important in a site like Invercargill where helium is difficult and expensive to get on-site quickly.
“Installation of the Philips Ambition MRI scanner marks the successful completion of the first phase of the upgrade of Southland Hospital’s Radiology Department. Phase two, which is hoped to start in coming months, is to expand the treatment, consent and patient waiting areas to improve comfort, confidentiality and workflow in the MRI suite.”
Mr. Fleming thanked Pacific Radiology and St John’s for going “above and beyond” to assist Southern DHB with the urgent inpatient and outpatient scans during the seven week installation period.
While the Radiology Department had worked to reduce waiting lists prior to the downtime for installation, the assistance of Pacific Radiology and St John’s had been crucial for urgent scans during that time, he said.