Whangārei and Northland communities are set to receive a major healthcare boost when it comes to immediate and local access to leading edge imaging technology, which is a fundamental part of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
RHCNZ Medical Imaging Group is delighted to announce a new purpose-built radiology clinic scheduled to open in Whangārei in mid-2023. The clinic will be equipped with the latest technology including a high-tech Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanner alongside state-of-the-art MRI, CT, x- ray and ultrasound equipment.
The clinic will fall under the banner of Auckland Radiology (ARG), one of three RHCNZ companies renowned for their commitment to delivering world-class radiology locally. With more than 140 radiologists working nationwide and 32 locally based to support Auckland and Northland communities, patients can rest assured knowing that if the need arises, highly specialised expertise is right on their doorstep.
Auckland Radiology’s Clinical Director, Dr Steve Merrilees, notes that removing barriers to patients accessing healthcare has become a key focus for RHCNZ.
“At present Northland patients who need a PET-CT scan have to travel to Auckland for this essential service. For patients who are already unwell, this can be a daunting and time consuming journey to have to undertake so we have decided to bring the service closer to the people we serve.”
“The pandemic has shown us that there are many reasons for our patients not being able to access the healthcare they require. Patients will not only benefit from increased local access to this essential PET-CT scanner, but will also benefit from minimal wait-times for appointments and faster diagnostic results, which in turn enables their lead care specialist to provide the best possible health-care treatment plans.”
“A PET-CT scanner is an essential tool in the diagnosis and management of many advanced cancers including melanoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer”, says Dr Merrilees.
Dr Vanessa Blair, a General and Breast Surgeon from the far North, who practices in Auckland, Whangarei and Keri Keri, says
“This announcement from Auckland Radiology is great news for patients in Te Tai Tokerau Northland, who until now have had to travel to Auckland for this more sensitive scanning technology at the forefront of modern individualised care of cancer patients. It is so good to see this service available closer to my patient’s homes, which saves travel costs and inconvenience for them as well.”
“ARG has an excellent reputation for high quality imaging. Having an option locally will help smooth the path patients and their families travel as they go through their diagnosis, investigations and cancer management,” says Dr Blair.
Dr Blair, who is the new President of the New Zealand Association of General Surgeons, also noted that
“Equity of access for people living in provincial New Zealand, is not just an issue in the public sector, but also in the private sector, and having more access to high quality imaging locally is a win-win for improved cancer care”.
Mary Grigor, RHCNZ General Manager Auckland and Northland, is very happy to confirm that detailed planning is underway for the new specialised Whangārei clinic.
“We have specifically chosen a centralised Whangārei site, providing easy access to highly advanced imaging radiology services for local patients, their whānau and those travelling from across the northern regions. We are pleased to be able to provide increased regional capacity to support our medical colleagues in the early detection and ongoing management of a patient’s healthcare journey”.
Full radiology services available from the new Whangārei clinic will include: PET-CT, MRI, CT, ultrasound – general, obstetric and musculoskeletal; x-ray imaging and specialised interventional services such as musculoskeletal injections – particularly beneficial in injury recovery management plans.