MRI instalment behind schedule

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
timaru mri
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
TAKING SHAPE: Timaru's MRI project is nearing completition.

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Timaru's $3 million MRI scanner will be on site in a week - all going to plan.

The machine, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, is due to arrive at Timaru Hospital on December 20.

It will be installed in a purpose-built room, ready for its first patient in February.

However, the project is behind target by 3 weeks, general manager of finance Nigel Trainor said.

Initially, it was planned that the MRI would be installed by December 21 and be ready for use in January.

Mr Trainor said a range of issues meant the project had not gone completely to plan.

One problem was the discovery of some old lift shafts while preparing the foundations.

When it arrives, the machine will be stored safely in its building while construction of the site continues around it.

Mr Trainor said he was pleased with the project's success, despite glitches earlier on. "It's taking shape. There are two [contracting firms] - one, a specialist for MRI rooms. "

Having the machine in Timaru will mean the 500 patients who require publicly funded MRI scans each year, and the 950 who get the scans done privately, or paid for by their health insurance, will no longer need to go to Christchurch.

The SCDHB will sub-lease up to half of the capacity of the MRI to Christchurch Radiology Group for privately funded MRIs, which include ACC patients, medical insurance patients and private payers.

WHAT CAN AN MRI SCANNER DO?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner provides a non-invasive medical test, using a magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissue, bones and virtually all other internal body structures.

The images are then examined on a computer, which allows physicians to better evaluate and determine the presence of diseases that may not be picked up by X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scans.

MRI can examine organs of the chest and abdomen, pelvic organs, blood vessels, breasts and musculoskeletal system.

MRI is commonly used to diagnose tumours of the reproductive organs, causes of pelvic pain, breast cancer, tumours of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, heart problems, diseases of the abdominal organs, and joint and muscle issues.

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- The Timaru Herald

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