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New MRI Scanner Improves Patient Comfort And Wait Times

More capability, less noise and the ability for patients to listen to music are all benefits of the new Siemens scanner for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) installed at Nelson Hospital.

The new Siemens 1.5T Sola MRI system was installed last year and is a technological progression, with clearer images, faster scanning and the capability of undertaking more specific imaging than the previous scanner, for example breast MRI.

The new suite is not only a $2.8 million investment by Nelson Marlborough Health, it is also a step forward for the radiology team with modern technology, ease of patient placement, and more space for other clinicians and clinical equipment if required to obtain the MR image.

The previous scanner was co-owned with Pacific Radiology and access was shared. Now NMH owns the scanner outright General Manager Clinical Services, Lexie O’Shea, says it affords greater flexibility and more sessions to deliver more scanning.

“The new MRI system has enabled us to significantly reduce the time patients are waiting and breast imaging patients no longer have to travel to Blenheim this is great news for our region,” she says.

The new scanner has a wider bore and better lighting which offers patients’ greater comfort, especially as they can be in the scanner for anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour and a half.

The inpatient area has also been improved, with preparation and recovery areas, better visibility for staff and better changing facilities for patients.

The new images created by the scanner have also found favour with the radiologists due to their clarity.

Lead MRI Technologist Phil Taylor says the change to a Siemens system has seen a steep, challenging, yet immensely rewarding learning curve for the MITs.

He says staff completed intensive MRI cardiac and breast imaging applications training on the new platform and continued support for training is showing in the rapid development of our service capabilities.

Installation of the new scanner began in July 2019 with building work completed in mid-November.


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