Galway Advertiser 2003/2003_11_27/GA_2711_E1_018.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2003/2003_11_27/GA_2711_E1_018.pdf

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18 N E W S

Galway Advertiser

November 27 2003

New Merlin Park scanning centre a major boost for western patients
BY MARY O'CONNOR A 1 million state-of-the-art scanning centre - which is located on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital and which was officially opened this week - is being hailed as a major healthcare development in the west of Ireland. The facility, which offers an extensive range of imaging services, was established by the consultant radiologists at UCHG and Merlin Park hospitals in partnership with the Western Health Board. Bridget Howley, the manager of Galway Regional Hospitals opened the centre on Tuesday evening. The radiologists say this venture is their first step to improving patient services by partnership and investment. The centre boasts a 500,000 cat scanner, a sophisticated diagnostic machine, which is the first of its type in the country. "We own and operate the Siemens Six-slice Cat Scanner which offers a full range of diagnostic and staging CT studies for a wide variety of clinical problems. These services were previously much more difficult for patients to access. These will now be more readily available and results will be faster," says the group in a press statement. The services include full body scans, heart scans, virtual colonoscopy, and vascular and orthopaedic imaging. "Our advanced technology permits us to target organs in a specific and detailed imaging process. We can do full body scans which give an overview of the entire body for a good general screening. We also provide CT heart scans - the only non invasive test that can find early plaque build up in the arteries of the heart before a heart attack occurs. The CT lung scan is the most accurate and best means of finding lung cancer early while it can still be cured." Other services provided include a virtual colonoscopy which is an accurate, comfortable and fast screening process for colon cancer. This test does not involve passing an endoscope ( a medical instrument that examines the interior of hollow organs) through the colon. Three dimensional vascular and orthopaedic imaging is also available at Merlin Park Hospital's imaging centre. This is described as an accurate, minimally invasive and fast screening process for aneurysm (the swelling of a blood vessel which can pose a serious risk to health) and spinal and complex joint surgery. The radiologists say they are committed to providing an "efficient, accurate and appropriate imaging service" with minimal waiting time, convenient appointments, and same or next day reporting of results to the referring GP or consultant. People must get a referral letter from their GP or hospital consultant to access the service which is based at the imaging centre, located opposite the turning for Hospital Ground. The facility has an agreement with the Western Health Board to carry out scans on 500 public in-patients as part of the public/private initiative. Speaking at the opening, Professor Peter McCarthy, a consultant radiologist at Merlin Park Imaging Centre, said hospital consultants were dismayed by the very long waiting lists for this type of scan at UCHG where a similar but older scanner is working "flat out" to deal with the demand. "We felt there was a great demand for a second scanner in the city. The new scanning service could not have been opened without the help of the Western Health Board. We are delighted to thank senior officers of the board, in particular Bridget Howley and Brendan Naughton without whose help this could not have happened." He explained the doctors had bought the new scanner and the WHB has provided the building to house the machine on a public/private initiative basis. "We believe this is the first time this has happened in the healthcare arena in the west. The doctors organised for the building to be refurbished to a very high standard to accommodate the scanner. In return for the health board's generosity, the inpatients in Merlin Park hospital will be scanned in the grounds of the hospital. This will mean they don't have to be tranferred to UCHG." He said the scanner can be used in the complex investigation of major illnesses such as heart disease, brain disease and cancer, and is complementary to, but different from, MRI scanning.


Tel: 091 530900

UCH, Galway's intensive care unit wins major practice quality award
BY MARY O'CONNOR The intensive care unit at UCHG has clinched a major award making it the only multidisciplinary accredited critical care unit in the Republic. The unit, based at the west's biggest hospital, was recently accredited as a practice development unit. This honour is a major quality achievement, according to Dr Sheelah Ryan, the chief executive of the Western Health Board. "It involves medical, nursing and allied p r o f e s s i o n a l s d e m o n st r at i n g innovation, evidence based practice and quality improvement of patient care," she says. "The process focused on the patient/client, the care they receive and on a continuous improvement programme." Part of the process involved identifying a patient advocate to help design a new approach so clients can be more involved in planning services and giving feedback, she explains. "A focus group meeting with former clients is to be held shortly with outside facilitation to explore their experiences with the service and their ideas for improvements."

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 Galway Advertiser 2003 / 2003_11_27