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Telethon Southland a First for the Region

Joint Media Release

Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Telethon Southland a First for the Region

For the first time, Southland will benefit 100% from the proceeds of a locally run, nationally broadcast telethon. Southland TV has joined forces with Southland District Health Board (SDHB) to launch a major fundraising vehicle for the purchase of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner and Digital Radiology System for Southland’s New Base Hospital.

Southland TV will broadcast the telethon live, nationwide on channel 90 on the Sky Digital network. The 12 hour telethon will take place on Sunday 30 May 2004 from noon to midnight and will be located outside “The Umbrella” in Don St Invercargill and at Southland TV’s studio in the State Insurance Building.

The telethon will feature a number of local celebrities, entertainers, special guests, members of the medical profession and patients who have benefited from MRI technology; as well as Southlanders who have spent time and effort organising events to raise money for the cause.

Southland TV Managing Director, Tom Conroy says that a Southland telethon event has been in the pipeline for several months with a number of worthy causes having been considered.

“We wanted the telethon to benefit the greater Southland region and health is certainly one area that concerns us all. The MRI fundraising campaign could potentially impact every single Southlander and I am in no doubt Southlanders will get behind this telethon” Mr Conroy said.

SDHB Chairman, Dennis Cairns says that Southlanders currently requiring a MRI scan must fly to Christchurch, which not only costs SDHB money, but more importantly causes significant disruption for patients and their families.

“The current cost of sending around 350 Southlanders to Christchurch would fund in excess of 700 examinations if the MRI scanner was on site at Southland Hospital” Mr Cairns said.

Mr Cairns says the telethon is an exciting opportunity for the community to actively help enhance health services for their region.

“The Government understandably does not provide the funding for the capital investment required to provide MRI services to regional hospitals - therefore regions such as Southland have to raise the funds through their community. We’re thrilled that Southland TV are supporting us in this fundraising campaign” he said.

Mr Conroy says “We want the telethon to be a truly Southland event. Any town in the province which has an interest will have the opportunity to be involved. We want to hear about what people are doing. Come along to the telethon on the day, present the money and tell us how much they have raised and how.”

MRI scanning is a safer, non-intrusive method of medical imaging that has specialised applications. Digital Radiology systems use digital technology to capture, store, retrieve and send images such as CT scans, ultrasounds and MRI scans to clinicians, allowing for faster access and diagnosis of a patient’s images.

ENDS

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