Staff in scanner training

21:07, Feb 26 2013
mri scanner
LATEST TECH: Timaru's MRI scanner will soon be ready for its first patient. Manager of MRI services Pacific Radiology Group Gareth Leeper and trainee MRI technologist Sarah Young test some of the equipment.

An official opening ceremony has been confirmed for Timaru's MRI scanner.

The facility, which is now being used for "application training" in preparation for its first patient, will be launched with an opening ceremony on March 15.

Staff are working hard to get the machine ready to serve its purpose, but the South Canterbury District Health Board cannot confirm when exactly that will be.

The purpose-built MRI building, located behind the hospital's clinical services block, has already become a busy place of work for staff as they gear up for the influx of patients.

Among those staff are two MRI technicians. Tamara Grant, of Ashburton, is one of them. She qualified as an MRI technician three years ago, with a post-graduate diploma in MRI.

She said the multimillion-dollar project was an exciting achievement for the town and the hospital's staff.

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The scanner was the only one of its kind in the country, however there was one similar to Timaru's in Auckland, she said.

"It's a fantastic new technology - it's great," she said.

It has been 18 months since the project's $2.7 million fundraising initiative was launched.

Because of a successful response, that figure was bumped up to $2.8m in April so an anaesthesia machine could also be purchased.

The pool of funds has since exceeded $3m, as the community continues to give generously to the cause.

The Timaru Herald