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Hawkes Bay people to benefit from donation

11 August 2004

HB people to benefit from significant donation to HBDHB

Hawke’s Bay people requiring a CT (Computerised Tomography) scan are set to benefit from a $1.6 million donation from a private Hawke’s Bay Trust, Weem Trust, which has been established from the Estate of Tom McCormack. The Trust is funding the purchase of a state-of-the-art 40-slice CT scanner – the DHB’s current machine is nine years old and only provides a ‘single slice’ view.

Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said this was a very generous donation, which the DHB was extremely pleased to receive. “The donation will honour the memory of local farming identity, Tom McCormack who passed away in 2002 after losing his battle with cancer”.

“Tom said Hawke’s Bay treated him well, and it was his wish that he could put something back in to the community.

“This donation is significant for a number of reasons - its size, which is the single biggest donation the Board has ever received…but it also provides us with an important message about Tom McCormack, the man, and the difference one person can make. Tom was a man who cared so deeply about the health of his community, he wanted to ensure other people would not have to endure the inconvenience of travel for medical treatment.

“We expect to have this new CT scanner installed in the ‘Tom McCormack Suite’ by late October 2004,” Mr Atkinson said.

Head of the DHB’s radiology department, Dr Sean Skea, said the installation of the new scanner would mean Hawke’s Bay Hospital had the first 40-slice CT scanner in New Zealand. “This is fantastic news for patients,” he said.

“For someone with suspected bowel cancer, a scan with the new machine will take 6-7 minutes, rather than the current 20. This is an incredible improvement - for a restless or anxious patient, this could mean that they don’t have to be anaesthetised; with faster scan times there’s less exposure to radiation, and importantly, images are much clearer which leads to earlier more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“Someone coming in with a major traumatic injury would currently spend up to 30 minutes being scanned – with the new machine, it will take ten minutes, and the images we get will be much sharper and easier to read.

“In many cases patients who currently have to travel out of the district for diagnostic assessment will be able to have scans in Hawke’s Bay. Due to the enhanced image quality, we’ll be able to do radiotherapy planning in Hawke’s Bay rather than sending people to Palmerston North,” Dr Skea said.

Another positive spin-off for HBDHB’s specialist radiology service is the ‘magnet’ effect new technology has on attracting staff. “We will be one of the best equipped units in the country, and having the only 40-slice scanner in New Zealand will be a real draw-card for staff who will receive additional training to operate the new scanner.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chief executive, Chris Clarke, said he was absolutely delighted with the donation which would make a huge difference to a patient’s experience of the health system.

“While people will still have to travel for radiotherapy treatment, the diagnosis, and radiotherapy treatment planning and monitoring of patients with cancer can take place in Hawke’s Bay, and that is extremely good news for so many Hawke’s Bay families,” Mr Clarke said.


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