Press Release – Waitemata District Health Board
Faster, more detailed medical scanning is on the cards for Waitemata district patients with a new state of the art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner at North Shore Hospital.
The Waitemata District Health Board’s move to acquire a second MRI at a total cost of $2.9 million (including building fitout) will further enhance the DHB’s ability to diagnose and treat various medical conditions.
MRI uses powerful magnetic fields to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and other internal body structures, enabling health professionals to assess various parts of the body.
The new machine will have a higher magnetic field strength of 3 Tesla (3T), a significant improvement on the existing 1.5T scanner.
“Once operational in August this year, the new machine will enable us to further improve the image quality of our MRI scans and reduce scan times without compromising on image quality,” says Dr David Cranefield, Waitemata DHB clinical director for radiology.
A 3T Scanner is particularly important for imaging paediatric patients, and scans of brains and extremities, including peripheral vascular studies.
It is now the expected standard for many assessments, including paediatric brain scans, and for producing high quality angiograms to detect blockages to blood flow.
Waitemata CEO Dr Dale Bramley says the more powerful scanner will enable the DHB to perform many of the more complex scanning work in-house.
“Currently, much of this work is done at Auckland DHB. The new 3T scanner will enable us to provide these scans locally for people in our district.”
Dr Bramley says the 10-year-old 1.5T scanner remains a good machine for many everyday scans.
“Together, the two machines provide a good complement for our DHB, enabling best practice in diagnostic imaging.”
The new scanner supports three key DHB priorities for 2012/13:
• Improving population health outcomes
• Improved patient safety and experience
• Improved sustainability (ensuring DHB facilities and infrastructure keep up with the demands of a fast-growing population, and to provide as many of these services as feasible locally)
Radiology services at the DHB have expanded rapidly in recent years, with the opening of the new Advanced Interventional Radiology Suite last month and the acquisition of a second CT scanner at North Shore Hospital in late 2011.
The $2.8m Toshiba Aquilion ONE CT scanner at North Shore Hospital was the first of its kind in New Zealand, with North Shore Hospital acting as a reference site for other DHBs around the country.