NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos views the new state-of-the-art CT scanner, which is now being used at the Coffs Harbour H
NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos views the new state-of-the-art CT scanner, which is now being used at the Coffs Harbour H

Coffs? cutting edge in cancer services



COFFS COAST patients now have access to two new radiologists and a new state-of-the-art CT scanner.

NSW Minister for Health John Hatzistergos made the announcement on Tuesday while visiting the Coffs Harbour Health Campus, where he also inspected building works for the new Cancer Care Service.

"The Siemens 64 slice CT scanner, already in use, is the latest in imaging technology and is only the fourth such machine in an Australian hospital after being released worldwide in late 2004," he said.

"The new technology will be supported by an expanded medical workforce with the appointment of radiologists Dr Shadley Fataar and Dr Sharath Redyam who will join Dr Bill Turnbull in providing expert care to patients.

Mr Hatzistergos said the new CT scanner enabled greater image resolution, wider study views and quicker examination times than the previous scanner.

"The machine can obtain high-resolution images of any organ in just one second and the whole body in less than 10 seconds, making it substantially more comfortable for patients.

"By producing images of the entire body in three dimensions in seconds, the scanner enables quicker diagnosis and treatment delivery, especially in trauma, stroke and chest pain."

The new scanner, worth $1.5-million, will enable ruling out the three most life-threatening causes of chest pain ? heart attack, pulmonary embolisms and aortic tear ? with one 10-second scan, and enable early diagnosis of lung cancer.

Examinations such as virtual colonoscopy and CT coronary angiography can also save patients unnecessary invasive procedure by ruling out disease.

Mr Hatzistergos said the new Cancer Care Service would provide treatment closer to home for Mid North Coast patients.

"The cancer Care Service, due for completion in early 2007, will provide radiation oncology, medical oncology and BreastScreen services to local communities," he said.

"It will make a significant difference to the quality of life of people who would previously have to travel or would not get treatment at all and take their chances.

"Irrespective of where they live, people shouldn't have to travel for treatment."

The Minister's Mid North Coast visit took him to Port Macquarie Base Hospital to inspect early construction work on the Cancer Care Service, to South West Rocks to inspect construction works on the new Community Health Centre, and to Macksville Hospital to announce $215,000 in funding to upgrade its emergency department.



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