Province, charities partnering on new CT scanner for Chalmers Hospital (08/08/28)

NB 1233

Aug. 28, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - A new 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner for the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital (DECH) in Fredericton will be purchased as the result of a partnership between the Department of Health, the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation and the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital Auxiliary Inc.

Health Minister Michael Murphy announced today that the province will contribute $900,000 this fiscal year to purchase the new CT scanner and to upgrade an existing CT scanner to a 16-slice unit from a four-slice unit.

"As a government, we are very thankful for the support of the DECH Auxiliary and the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation," said Murphy. "This new 64-slice scanner, together with the upgrade to the existing scanner, will enhance the quality of diagnostic images used to identify and treat diseases and injuries."

The Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation and the DECH Auxiliary Inc. are each contributing $350,000 towards purchasing the new scanner.

"When hospital administration asked for the foundation's help, we understood the immediate need for this important piece of diagnostic equipment," said David Wilson, chairman of the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation. "We are proud to be partners with the DECH Auxiliary and the Department of Health in funding this new technology. The foundation is very pleased to commit $350,000 over the next few years from interest and investments earned on our general endowment fund. For the last 25 years we have built the endowment fund with legacy gifts and named endowments from dedicated donors in our community. This is an opportunity to put these earnings to their best possible use."

CT scanners are used to produce thin, cross-sectional images, or slices, for a wide variety of diagnostic imaging exams, including spine and head, gastrointestinal and vascular.

"The auxiliary is very excited to partner with the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation and the Department of Health for the purchase of this much-needed equipment," said Helen Jean Gorman, president of the DECH Auxiliary. "The $350,000 commitment by the auxiliary is made possible in part by the many dedicated volunteers who so willingly give of their time in our hospital gift shop, coffee shop and beauty shop. Without these volunteers, and of course the valued support of our patrons and the dedication of our staff, this significant contribution would not be possible."

The new scanner can acquire data much faster than previous technology. This minimizes the effects of patient movement during scanning to provide better images, especially for trauma victims and pediatric patients.

Murphy said that River Valley Health will also receive an additional $1.088 million this year to purchase various pieces of medical equipment valued at between $5,000 and $100,000 each.

The funding is from the Department of Health's $13.22-million budget in fiscal 2008-09 for new medical equipment and technology.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Health 506-457-3513; and Melissa Jewett, acting director, communications, River Valley Health, 506-452-5668.