WAITING LISTS TUMBLE
PATIENTS needing potentially lifesaving CAT scans at a Costa Blanca hospital have seen the waiting times plummet thanks to the arrival of new state-ofthe-art equipment.
The €200,000 machine arrived at Dénia Hospital in September and is now fully operational – slashing waiting times for nonemergency appointments from a typical 90 days to 19, with further cuts expected.
Dénia has also become the official training centre for the American technology, with operators set to arrive for instruction on how to use the Siemens machine from across Spain.
The Masonic Home of Valencia Association paid half the cost of the CAT scanner in partnership with the hospital and on Wednesday afternoon representatives of the association and its fundraisers from the Moraira Charity Shop attended its official unveiling.
The scanner was presented to Dénia to help speed up the di- agnosis of tumours by oncologists and aid cancer patients, but it is on duty 24 hours a day for emergency use and help to successfully cut waiting times for non-urgent appointments.
Isabel Erades, Chief Nurse in the Radiology Department, explained how the machine could be operated from a tablet and was able to reduce the levels of radiation patients were exposed to, in line with new European Union laws coming into force in the New Year.
“This is already in use every day and we complement the other older scanner if there is a high level of demand,” she said. “We are trying to avoid delays for appointments, especially those from the oncology department.
“There is very different software to the other machine and we are constantly improving our training because it has so many more applications. It was very important to start slowly and we are trying to better our understanding.”
When the technology first came on line, Siemens technicians were on hand for two weeks; now they visit Dénia once a month.
“And the Siemens team is very good. If we have any problems at all, we can ring and they provide an answer immediately.”
Because the machine is available for emergency use, the five- year-old son of a hospital director was seen immediately after suffering a head injury in an accident.
The new machine also operates much more quickly than older technology, a full head scan taking around 40 seconds.
Jenny Hart, President of the Masonic Home of Valencia Association, said she was “extremely impressed” with the operation of the new technology and how it was helping all patients. “The other machine is nine years old – nine years is a very long time in terms of new technology.”
She said: “Absolutely, this was money well spent. It is unbelievable how waiting times have come down, and when everyone becomes even more proficient, they will be coming down even more.
“I like the way it is available 24 hours a day. This is brilliant. I am so proud and extremely chuffed we have helped to make such a difference.”