Home News Daisy Hill hospital will not have MRI scanner until at least 2028

Daisy Hill hospital will not have MRI scanner until at least 2028

An MRI scanner will not be installed at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry until 2028 at the earliest, it has emerged.

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An MRI scanner will not be installed at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry until 2028 at the earliest, it has emerged.

An outline business case still needs to be formally approved and the Southern Health Trust said after that the electrical infrastructure needed to be upgraded and the diagnostic suite installed.

The trust said it was working with the Department of Health to secure funding.

Campaigners want a more ambitious timescale to deliver the project.

The combined work of the infrastructure and installing the suite is estimated to cost about £20m.

The trust said the reason there was no MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner at the hospital was because “low voltage electrical infrastructure needs to be in place”.

The 2028 date was revealed by former Health Minister Robin Swann in an answer to an assembly question from Social Democratic and Labour Party assembly member Justin McNulty.

Patients at Daisy Hill who require MRI imaging need to go to Craigavon Area Hospital.

A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said: “Both the trust and the Department of Health recognise that this is a priority piece of work to enable future capital development at Daisy Hill, and are working closely to obtain an Outline Business Case approval and funding for these enabling works to proceed.”

‘Not ambitious enough’

Responding to the written assembly question in September, Mr Swann said the electrical infrastructure upgrades were estimated to cost £10m.

Work to install a twin diagnostic suite, including the provision of an MRI and second permanent CT scanner, is estimated to cost £9.1m. The purchase of the MRI scanner is estimated at £1.1m.

Mr Swann said in another written answer: “Pending formal approval of the business case, the programme of works is expected to commence within 22/23 year and conclude 2028/2029.”

Mr McNulty told BBC News NI the timescale was “nowhere near ambitious enough”.

“Without an MRI Suite, Daisy Hill cannot deliver the modern medical care that people in this area entitled to,” he said.

Seána Grant, from the Daisy Hill Future campaign group, said having an MRI scanner on-site would help improve emergency response times as ambulances would not be needed to transport patients to scans in Craigavon.

She said the addition of the diagnostic suite would be needed to deliver a “robust service” with the hospital slated to become an elective overnight stay centre.