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Health / Health officials still working through ins and outs of bringing MRI scanner to isles

Gilbert Bain Hospital’s CT scanner also expected to be replaced by May

WORK is continuing on bringing an MRI scanner to Shetland following the successful £1.65 million fundraising drive.

A report to members of the NHS Shetland board on Tuesday said that “multiple work streams” are ongoing in terms of procurement, clinical specification and the scanner’s eventual location.

In October last year it was announced that the fundraising target had been reached after the community rallied together.

This was helped along in its final stages by a £500,000 donation from Shetland Charitable Trust as well as £200,000 from the Shetland Community Benefit Fund.

Estates manager Lawson Bisset wrote in his report: “In conjunction with NSS [NHS National Services Scotland], we are exploring procurement options for the scanner and how that might fit in with other MRI procurement across the north region.

“With colleagues at NHS Grampian, the detailed clinical scoping and specification for the service and the scanner is being undertaken.

“We are exploring the housing and location of the scanner with our architects, services consultants and NSS.”

The scanner is due to be sited at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.

Bisset’s report also said that NHS Shetland has been allocated £600,000 to replace the existing CT scanner at the Gilbert Bain.

The replacement programme is expected to be completed by May.

The CT scanner was bought in 2007 following a large public drive.

MRI scanners can diagnose cancer, strokes, heart conditions and many other conditions and having one in Lerwick would complement the CT scanner, which uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.

The estates team, meanwhile, received high praise for the work it has done over the last year.

There was particular reference to introducing mass Covid vaccination centres in Lerwick.

Bisset said he would pass on the praise, but added that his team is just a “small cog” in the NHS Shetland machine.