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News of a £1.2m state-of-the-art scanner for Oban hospital has been welcomed by patient groups and health chiefs.
The ultra-modern scanner, which is at the forefront of technology, is only the second of its kind to be installed in a hospital in Scotland, the other has just been commissioned in Glasgow’s Golden Jubilee Hospital.
Health bosses hope the Siemens Somatom go.Top CT scanner will be installed and ready to run from June this year, saving some patients the time, cost and logistics of travelling out-of-area for their scans.
Chairman of Oban Hospice board David Entwistle said: ‘This is great news for this part of the world and our small hospital. The trek to Glasgow for scans is the last thing that some people need when they are feeling unwell and anxious.
‘Hopefully the new scanner will allow for a quicker response and understanding of various medical issues, and provide appropriate treatments. On behalf of the people I know who have passed through Oban hospice and the Dove Centre, there’s a lot of people who will benefit.’
The £1.2m investment was awarded by the Scottish Government to Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to replace the hospital’s existing CT scanner, which is 12 years old, and to cover lifetime maintenance costs for the new one. The hospital’s first CT scanner in 2000 was donated by two charities.
Work to remove the hospital’s old scanner is expected to start next month but a mobile service will continue from the hospital car park until the new machine is installed.
Although it might disrupt car parking, radiology manager Mark Nichols said the temporary scanner will be the same as the new arrival and means patients will be able to benefit from the latest technology even earlier than June.
As well as allowing the hospital to carry out scans that patients have previously had to travel out of the area to receive, there are other pluses said Mr Nichols.
‘A big bonus to patients is that the radiation dose from the new scanner will be significantly lower than our existing one and the clarity of images will be even greater. Also, a lot of people come into the department and know us anyway, so from a holistic point of view it will be much better for people to come here, saving some of them the trips down to Glasgow and all that goes with that.’
Mr Nichols worked alongside lead radiographer Luanna Lamers and consultant radiologist Dr Peter Thorpe on an extensive procurement process before deciding to buy that particular machine.
CT scans can diagnose many conditions such as strokes, cancer and critical injuries. They can also be used to plan treatments and check how effective previous treatments, such as chemotherapy, have been.
In 2018, all hospitals in Scotland were asked to give the Scottish Government details of the age and software version of their CT scanners so a list could be drawn up of those most needing replacing.
Oban councillor Kieron Green, vice chairman of the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership’s (HSCP)’s governing body, said: ‘I welcome this investment. It demonstrates the long-term commitment of the HSCP to delivering as many services as possible in Oban.’