Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - jtroughton@cb­news.es By Jack Troughton

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.”

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