Caption: Balmoral resident, James Parker is assisted into the scanner by Bendigo Radiology Radiographer, Rob Medway. Also pictured (seated) are GE Healthcare ANZ MRI Applications Specialist, Xiaojuan (Joyce) He and MRI & CT Modality Manager, Howard Delahunty.
After months of construction, the brand new MRI machine at Hamilton Base Hospital is in use, with the first patients receiving scans at Bendigo Radiology last week.
With the highly specialised testing phase complete, the MRI received the tick of approval from technicians to go live on Thursday March 2.
Retired Army serviceman and Balmoral resident, James Parker was one of the first to benefit from the new MRI, following a referral by his specialist for a neck and shoulder scan.
Mr Parker said it was his second MRI and he was grateful he didn’t need to travel too far this time.
“I had an MRI ten years ago in Bendigo and the experience was pretty different.
The staff in Hamilton are great and the new machine has a mirror that lets you see everything that’s going on around you, which makes it more comfortable.
Mr Parker said he was referred for the scan in early February and was told it was a six week wait in Warrnambool.
“Getting the scan a few weeks earlier than expected in Hamilton will hopefully mean I can get my treatment underway sooner. I reckon having an MRI in Hamilton should also reduce wait times for people in Warrnambool, so its a win win,” Mr Parker said.
Compared to older machines, the new scanner in Hamilton has a larger tunnel making it less daunting for people who don’t like enclosed spaces and features a sound system that allows patients to listen to their favorite music.
These comforts combined with the unit’s faster scanning and noise reduction technology, create a better patient experience, while providing advanced high-resolution imaging.
WDHS Chief Executive, Rohan Fitzgerald says the feedback on the MRI’s imaging capability from the Bendigo Radiology team has been fantastic.
“The radiographers and technicians have told me that the image quality is exceptional. The machine represents a significant upgrade to our imaging capabilities and we’re thrilled to finally be able to offer this additional service to our community, specialists and GP’s.
There’s been talk about having an MRI in Hamilton for over a decade, so it’s incredibly exciting to finally see patients walking through the door for these scans.
Mr Fitzgerald reiterated that the support WDHS has received for the project has been nothing short of amazing.
“From the community members who’ve donated, to our staff working behind the scenes, to the local trades who’ve fitted us into their busy schedules and the Bendigo Radiology team – I can’t thank everyone enough for getting behind the MRI for U&I project and helping us to reach this incredible milestone,” he said.
MRI scans are available for patients by referral from a specialist or GP.