Otago patients offered MRI scans in Southland

Otago patients are being offered routine MRI scans in Invercargill because waiting lists are too long at Dunedin Hospital, a report to a Southern District Health Board committee says.

Patients at Dunedin Hospital are waiting 28 weeks for a routine MRI.

The target is 16 weeks.

Southland Hospital scans have previously been offered to Balclutha and Central Otago patients, but this was recently extended to all Otago patients.

In Otago, 242 MRI patients were also on an "unscheduled wait-list", although an unidentified number of them had been treated in the private sector in an outsourcing arrangement.

Outsourcing and Southland Hospital were also planned to target routine CT scan waiting lists. At Dunedin, patients waited 20 weeks.

A target of 12 weeks was met at Southland Hospital.

Waiting times for routine ultrasound at Dunedin was high (22-26 weeks). This was being handled through a machinery upgrade, and the loan of an additional machine.

The report revealed Dunedin Hospital was not always meeting targets for urgent, acute, or critical CT and ultrasound procedures.

The board plans to review radiology services, both public and private, across Otago and Southland, to better manage its resources. However, the board has not yet been able to recruit a programme manager for the review, the report said.

The report, by medical directorate general manager Ian Winwood (Southland), and diagnostic and support services general manager Sharon Mason (Otago), will be considered at today's hospital advisory committee meeting in Dunedin.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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