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Health / Health board looking to bring in visiting MRI service until permanent scanner arrives

A local scanner would mean less patient travel to Aberdeen

Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

A VISITING MRI service could come to Shetland until the isles play host to a permanent scanner if plans come to fruition.

A report presented to members of the NHS Shetland board on Tuesday said this project is being worked on in conjunction with the Scottish Government.

A recent community fundraising effort secured £1.65 million for an MRI scanner for Shetland, which would mean patients would no longer need to travel to the mainland.

The current estimate is for a scanner to go live in summer 2023.

But NHS Shetland is working on bringing a visiting service in the meantime.

A report to board members said: “In line with our aim to increase local diagnostic services in Shetland, the MRI specification and technical specifications have been completed for the procurement of a permanent MRI scanner in Shetland.

“National Services Scotland (NSS) is managing the tender process and we will set a timeline for installation once we have a preferred vendor.

“In the interim, we are working with Scottish Government on a quality improvement project, developing a visiting MRI service until our local service is in place.

“This will provide more limited access to MRI provision than the permanent service, but will provide a level of access to MRI diagnostics over the next 12 months where patients would have previously had to travel to Aberdeen.”

A visiting MRI scanner came to the isles last year for around a week to support the launch of a mobile operating theatre outside the Gilbert Bain Hospital in January, which has been funded by the Scottish Government.

The NHS board meeting heard that a total of 350 patients are expected to have procedures in the mobile operating unit, which will be open for three months.