New Somerset Hospital Launches New Computerised Tomography (CT) Scanner | Western Cape Government


New Somerset Hospital Launches New Computerised Tomography (CT) Scanner

16 February 2011

Patients at New Somerset Hospital continue to benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the hospitals Computerised Tomography (CT) Scanner was officially opened yesterday by Theuns Botha Minister of Health in the Western Cape.

As a designated hospital for the showpiece event, the Department of Health invested more than R25 million into the renovation and rebuilding of the hospitals new Emergency Centre. Additional equipment to the value of R8.5 million was contributed by corporate sponsors. These include the CT scanner opened today, medical equipment and furnishings for the paediatric ward.

Botha said that these sorts of private sector partnerships made all the difference in overcoming the budgetary restraints that is often the greatest single hurdle in the provision of health services. "All over the world the funding of health services is a growing challenge. Technological advances have made great strides in the treatment of illnesses, but at the same time these technologies are costly and not within the financial capacity of the people who need it the most. As a provincial government we are very thankful for every contribution from the private sector. "

During the last decade, radiology imaging has undergone a revolution with extraordinary developments in CT scanners. The quality, clarity and detail provided by multi-detector CT scanners have radically improved patient care and has allowed for prompt and accurate clinical management decisions.

Historically, the Radiology Department at the Hospital could only provide X-ray and ultrasound imaging. The acquisition of the new CT scanner at the hospital has added a dimension of imaging, which was previously unavailable on site. A limited amount of elective scans could be accommodated at GF Jooste Hospital per week and all emergencies were scanned at Groote Schuur Hospital.

An emergency CT scan examination plays a pivotal role in clinical decision making in the Emergency Unit where patients are admitted following multiple trauma e.g. assault, motor vehicle accidents and occupational injuries.

In a very short space of time, a CT scan can determine the extent of injury to the brain, spine, chest (the heart and lungs), as well as the abdomen. Serious injuries are rapidly detected and interventions promptly instituted, resulting in patient lives being saved at a subsequently reduced overall health care cost.

Stroke patients benefit greatly from a CT head scan. If detected within six hours, certain strokes can be reversed with drug therapy. In other types of strokes, the CT scan can identify the source of a bleed, allowing the neurosurgical team to intervene.

The current epidemic of HIV infection also places a large diagnostic toll on our patients and physicians. Tuberculosis and other AIDS-related diseases are common and cause diagnostic dilemmas for physicians. CT scanning has the ability to clarify such dilemmas with interventions such as CT-guided liver or lung biopsies. The diagnosis is confirmed as soon as laboratory results are available.

New Somerset Hospital performed its first scan on the Toshiba Activion 16 slice scanner on 10 January 2011 and completed approximately 120 scans within the first three weeks.

Background information on New Somerset Hospital:

  • Somerset Hospital is a 260 bed predominantly regional hospital.
  • It has 2 district hospitals, 3 Community Health Centers (CHCs) and 10 clinics in its drainage area.
  • Somerset Hospital provides district and regional health hospital care and provides support services to the primary healthcare clinics in the Western sub-district.
  • The Hospital Outpatients section provides specialist outpatient services only. General outpatient services are provided at the primary health care facilities in the area.
  • The hospital further provides a full ARV referral service to the CHC ARV clinics. The scope of clinical services include adult and neonatal high care units, an endoscope unit, maternity services, a day theater, psychiatric seclusion facilities and an ARV Centre.
  • The staffing profile consists of 542 including doctors, nurses and other staff members such as administrative and other specialists.
  • The Hospital celebrated its 150 years of existence in 2009.

Issued by:
Directorate: Communications
Western Cape Department of Health.

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Ethne Julius
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