Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Liberals want answers on PET/CT scan damages and delays at Georges Dumont Hospital

FREDERICTON – The Liberal opposition is demanding the Minister of Health tell New Brunswickers why a new PET scanner being installed at the Georges L. Dumont hospital is being delayed due to damages to the equipment.

Moncton East MLA Chris Collins (photo, left) learned yesterday that the multi-million dollar piece of equipment sustained damages during the installation process, setting the project behind by more than seven weeks. Collins said the Minister of Health needs to provide some answers.

“Patients were expecting for this scanner to be up and running by April 1st – they were even scheduled for appointments. A month later and the Minister hasn’t even told the public what happened to cause damage to this brand-new machine and what repairs are needed. I find this situation – and the Minister’s silence on this issue - completely unacceptable.”

Opposition Liberal health advocate Bill Fraser (photo, right) called on the minister to show leadership on the file. “She’ll show up to cut ribbons and get her photo in the paper, but when something goes wrong she runs and hides,” Fraser said.

In addition, Collins is concerned to what extent the PET/CT scanner will be repaired, and whether there are any health or safety concerns with using or repairing the machine, which uses nuclear medical isotopes.

“PET/CT scanners use nuclear medical isotopes – the Minister needs to assure the public that the damages sustained doesn’t put the people repairing or using the machine at risk.”

Patients scheduled for PET/CT scans at the Dumont have been transferred to Saint John while repairs to the machine take place. Collins says this adds an additional hardship for people who now have to travel for this service.

Collins says that the Minister needs to address whether the Minister is asking the insurance company, manufacturer or contractors to pay for a new machine to replace the damaged one.

“Does this mean the Minister is now going to put a refurbished PET/CT scanner in the hospital instead of the brand-new machine it was promised? What is the Minister doing to make sure that the Dumont hospital gets the new piece of equipment it was promised?”