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Demand for crucial scans illustrates major need for MRI scanner

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BT Coleraine

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has said that the long-awaited MRI scanner in the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children cannot become fully operational soon enough. The North Antrim MLA was speaking after learning that in the month since training commenced on the machine 79 scans have already been carried out.

Robin Swann said:

“Timely access to appropriate services is essential in the diagnosis and treatment of children with very serious illnesses. MRI scans are particularly important in the diagnosis of cancer.

“After seeking an update from the Health Minister it has been confirmed to me that since clinical application training commenced on 9th November 2015, 79 scans, on a total of 49 patients, have been performed using the MRI scanner at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children. These scans were paid for through charitable contributions.

“It is a matter of huge regret that despite being announced 3 years ago the scanner has only recently been installed.

“By 2012 the scanner appeal had raised £2m and we were told the machine would be fully in place by 2013/2014. Unfortunately however, due to one delay after another, the machine will not become fully operational until January 2016.

“Whilst I am glad that we are now on the cusp of having a fully operational machine, I am annoyed that after local people gave so generously they have had to wait so long. Even more tragically however, is the fact that as the machine was being delayed, the health of our children was not being fully protected.”

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