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New CT scanner for hospital

4 May 2006

New CT scanner for hospital

Funding has been approved for a new CT scanner for Whakatane Hospital.

The new $835,000 scanner is being provided by the Eastern Bay Energy Trust through a combination of a lease and grant funding. The new scanner will be purchased by Development Enterprises Limited (DEL) partly with a loan from the Trust, and partly with a $200,000 grant to the hospital. The scanner will be leased to the hospital under a seven-year lease, including interest. Whakatane Hospital Radiologist, Dr Matthew Preston, explains that the hospital's existing scanner is nearly eight years old, and there have been major technical advances in that time.

"The main difference is that the new machine can do 16 slices at a time - as opposed to one. This means that the machine scans faster, and that the images are clearer and show more detail. As one would expect, there have been significant software advances," says Dr Preston. "New techniques for scanning have developed in the last few years, and these are better suited to the detail and speed of the new machine." Dr Preston says that the greatest advances will be seen in scanning patients after trauma, reducing the time it takes to scan the head, neck chest and abdomen from 45 minutes to approximately 5 -10 minutes, making the procedure much safer for unstable patients.

Other benefits include:

* The ability to undertake some angiograms to show arteries and veins rather than patients travelling to Tauranga to undergo a catheter study with a tube in the artery.

* Unobtrusive colon examinations as opposed to pateints' having a barium enema or colonoscopy.

Dr Preston says that overall, the machine will offer more detailed images that will provide earlier and more accurate diagnoses in some cases, and will prevent some patients from travelling to Tauranga or Auckland to be scanned. A half a million dollar building refurbishment project will be undertaken to house the larger scanner prior to its anticipated arrival towards the end of this year.

ENDS

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