News and Notices

New Year, New CT Scanners for patients in Nelson Marlborough

Health staff, patients and whanau in Nelson Marlborough are benefiting from a new CT scanner, bringing the region in line with the rest of the country for the gold standard in acute stroke imaging.

The existing machine at Nelson Hospital was recently decommissioned to make way for the new dual energy scanner.

Patients will soon be able to access perfusion scans, giving detailed information on blood flow to the brain, and dual energy scans, which use a normal x-ray alongside a second less powerful x-ray to make images.

Dual energy scanning delivers high quality images for patients with metal in the scanning area, reduces scans required from two to one when displaying blood vessels, and helps to assist in deciding the type of treatment patients may require.

Patients will experience increased comfort thanks to more space, as well as a quieter environment due to an upgrade from an air-cooled system to the scanner being water-cooled. The updated technology also results in a radiation dose reduction.

Over the years, the amount of time to image patients has significantly reduced from one slice per one second rotation when the first scanner was installed in Nelson in 1981, to the new scanner’s increased speed.

Since 2017, the radiology department has seen a steady increase in patients, and the Nelson Hospital service now scans an average of 38 patients per day.

2017 – 8344
2018 – 9592
2019 – 10905
2020 – 11652
2021 – 13074
2022 – 13694
2023 – 14000

Lexie O’Shea, Nelson Marlborough Group Director Operations - Hospital and Specialist Services, Te Whatu Ora said:

“We see more patients in the radiology department at Nelson Hospital every year.

“This is partly down to growing clinical staff numbers referring to Radiology Medical Imaging Technologists who are now based in the department 24/7, and the approval of new pharmaceuticals which require scans as part of monitoring.

“The team is very excited to have a new scanner platform to learn from.”

Another new CT scanner is due to arrive at Nelson Hospital next month, bringing the total to two.

Having one additional CT scanner will allow staff to use one as a contingency for preventative maintenance and unplanned outages and enable the radiology department to better manage the ever-increasing demand on the service.

Wairau Hospital will also benefit from a new CT scanner by mid-May this year.