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Health / MRI scanner appeal submits £500,000 funding bid to charitable trust

THE MRI scanner appeal has bid for £500,000 in funding from Shetland Charitable Trust, which is just under one third of its total target.

The MRI scanner appeal was launched in July 2018.

Gary Robinson, who is a trustee of NHS Shetland’s endowment committee, said the request was made just ahead of the coronavirus lockdown in March.

The total cost of the scanner is £1.65 million and to date around £750,000 has been raised purely through the efforts of the community.

Many in the community, however, have called on the charitable trust – which is sitting on reserves of over £315 million – to stump up some cash for the appeal.

Speaking about the £500,000 requested, Robinson told Shetland News: “This reflected the fundraising that had already taken place at the time of submission of the bid, and how much the appeal anticipated raising through other initiatives.

“The Charitable Trust responded to the bid with a series of questions, all of which have now been responded to in full.”

The scanner appeal has also submitted bids to other charitable organisations.

Robinson added there is a desire to go to tender on the scanner “as soon as possible” to avoid any additional costs or complications which may arise due to Brexit.

NHS chairman Gary Robinson.

“A positive response from the trust would ensure that we can do that,” he said.

In the 2000s the charitable trust donated £600,000 towards a £1 million CT scanner for Shetland.

In more recent times the trust has tightened its spending, with some groups like the Swan Trust and Shetland Folk Festival seeing their annual grant drop to zero.

However, this year it is offering an extra £880,000 to local charities and community organisations designed to support projects which would tackle inequality and social exclusion – with a cap of £100,000 on each application.

The trust’s main goal is to “benefit the people of Shetland” – particularly in areas such as social care and welfare, arts, sport and the environment.

The charitable trust effectively began in the 1970s when Sullom Voe Terminal launched, with money paid into the fund by the oil industry as a form of compensation for the sector operating in the isles.

Since then it has distributed over £320 million to charitable activities in Shetland, with some of the main beneficiaries including the recreational and amenity trusts.

Its funds are largely invested externally in the stock market.

MRI scanners, meanwhile, can diagnose cancer, strokes, heart conditions and many other conditions.

Having the MRI scanner at Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick would help to cut out journeys to Aberdeen for over 600 Shetland patients per year who must travel south to have a scan.

The fundraising appeal is being carried out by the Shetland Health Board Endowment Fund.

The endowment fund is a charity which is addition to and separate from the money used by NHS Shetland to provide day-to-day health services.

NHS Shetland said its money is often used for purchases like “equipment, additional comforts and amenities”.