THE MRI scanner appeal has confirmed that it will be approaching Shetland Charitable Trust for a donation to support the £2 million fundraising effort which launched almost a year ago.
When the charitable trust announced last week that the value of its investments has risen by a staggering £30 million last year, many islanders took to the keyboards and demanded that the trust should make a large contribution towards the popular fundraising appeal.
Newly elected chairman Dr Andrew Cooper hinted that the trust would be willing to at least consider a contribution, but he told Shetland News that he felt an approach had to be made by the organisers of the MRI appeal.
NHS Shetland finance director and trustee of the health board’s endowment fund Colin Marsland said on Friday that the fundraisers wanted first assess the public’s support for the appeal before approaching the charitable trust for a large contribution.
“It is the intention of the Scan Shetland Can campaign to formally approach the Shetland Charitable Trust about a donation to support the MRI scanner as it will benefit the people of Shetland in line with their governing trust deed,” he said.
“This was to be able to evidence to the Shetland Charitable Trust trustees that there was a groundswell of community support and engagement for this campaign similar to the very successful CT scanner appeal that Peter Malcolmson led and to which the Shetland Charitable Trust made a very generous donation.
“Now, a year since the MRI scanner appeal was launched, it is clear from the efforts of Shetlanders’ many fundraising events and sponsored activities, they support this campaign to raise funds.”
So far around £190,000 has been raised for the £2 million appeal, but there is clear evidence that the momentum is building up with communities the length and breadth of Shetland.
The hi-tech MRI machine can diagnose cancer, strokes, heart conditions and many other conditions and it would complement a CT scanner that was bought in 2007 following a massive public drive.
Having the MRI scanner at Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick would help cut out journeys to Aberdeen for the 675 Shetland patients per year who have to travel to have an MRI scan.
Marsland continued: “There has also been significant international support and donations to the scheme, especially through the sale of the Harriet’s Hat knitting pattern and the hats local volunteers have generously knitted.
“Shetland Health Board Endowment Fund, who have committed £70,000 to support the fundraising activities, are in the process of recruiting a fundraising manager to add further impetus to the appeal, and once in post, this will assist in broadening the income sources to the community campaign.”
Charitable trust chairman Cooper said the organisation had not yet received an approach by was anticipating one in due course.
“Obviously trustees would want to give careful consideration to any such request, and it would not be appropriate for me to make a commitment before we study the matter in detail,” he said.
“As with any funding approach, a fully costed business plan will be required prior to trustees’ discussions, and a contribution to the appeal would require full board approval.”
In respect of the CT scanner, NHS Shetland has now confirmed that a replacement scanner is included within its five year capital plan and, as such, this would then be funded by the Scottish Government.