New CT scanner now in operation in Red Deer

  • May. 11, 2011 3:16 p.m.

A new CT (computerized tomography) scanner now in use at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre exposes patients to less radiation and will bolster the hospital’s capacity for such procedures, staff say.

The $2-million scanner is replacing one of two existing units at the hospital.

Each machine has the capability to perform 14,000 scans annually, though the new model can complete scans much faster.

Currently, the hospital performs about 18,000 scans per year. An additional benefit of the new machine is that it allows scans to be performed with less radiation.

“The new CT scanner will be the preferred option for longer exams, like cardiac scans, and for young patients who may need a number of CT scans in the course of diagnosis and treatment,” says Peter Froese, executive director, diagnostic imaging suburban and rural hospitals.

“We could see an increase of about 30 to 40 per cent in the number of scans able to be completed during the week with this new scanner. It processes faster than the old machines. This will help reduce the time patients in Central Alberta have to wait for a CT scan.”

The Government of Alberta has committed $209 million for maintenance projects, through the Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP) and $75 million for technology and equipment — all part of the province’s 3-Year Health Capital Plan.

“This additional funding reflects our government’s commitment to ensuring that people in Central Alberta and all Albertans have access to quality health care within a reasonable time frame,” said Mary Anne Jablonski, minister of Seniors and Community Supports and MLA for Red Deer-North.

“Increased funding for health care systems supports patients and communities to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively by providing the right services and equipment to help address the needs of Albertans.”

More than $7 million is being invested in Red Deer.

This investment is being used to purchase the new CT scanner as well as other hospital equipment, including stretchers, electric beds, ventilators and a digital X-ray unit. IMP funds will be used to upgrade the hospital’s roof and nursing stations, and maintain its elevators, among other projects.

“We are pleased to have committed these funds to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre for the benefit of the people this facility serves,” says Cal Dallas, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance and Enterprise and MLA for Red Deer-South.

CT scans play an important role in the detection of many different cancers and in the diagnosis of cardiac disease.