Ultrasound is good for Tararua

The picture is brighter for Tararua patients needing ultrasounds, with a new machine predicted to reduce both waiting times and the travel needed to reach treatment.

Dannevirke Community Hospital's new ultrasound machine started scanning patients yesterday after it arrived on Monday.

The old machine had been used about three days a week. Its replacement will be in use five days a week, with MidCentral DHB to use the machine for two of those days.

"We had an ultrasound machine that was coming to the end of its life," hospital manager Chrissy Sheed said.

"The old machine was 13 years old. We used it two and a half to three days a week."

The partnership with MidCentral would ensure a higher level of use of the new machine and was an example of how DHBs and the private sector could work together.

Dannevirke Community Hospital is a private hospital but, under the agreement, MidCentral will use its ultrasound machine for two days each week.

This will mean Tararua patients who previously would have had to travel to Palmerston North Hospital for scans can now do that in Dannevirke.

Ms Sheed said not only would this reduce the time patients spent travelling to treatment, but the increased capacity for ultrasounds would also help reduce what she said were lengthy waiting lists at Palmerston North.

"People who live here don't have to travel as far, even if they're with MidCentral," she said.

The DHB will also process all of Dannevirke Hospital's scans at no cost as part of the arrangement.

Tararua Health Group chief executive Sharon Ward said the machine was up and running following "a huge amount of effort".

Ms Sheed said the machine had been well-received by the first patients to use it yesterday morning.

The Manawatu Standard