AN INVESTMENT in ultrasound technology is set to improve the experience of people with musculoskeletal conditions in Wigtownshire – sparing them lengthy trips to Dumfries.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway have been undertaking a service review to reduce travel for the west of the region, enabling patients to be seen nearer to their homes.
The purchase of new high-tech ultrasound technology will enhance rheumatology clinics dealing with conditions such as inflammatory arthritis and tendon and ligament disease that are delivered at the Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.
Dr Lucy Moran is Associate Specialist in Rheumatology, and she said: “This development not only represents a significant commitment of funding, but also a commitment by our fantastic staff who are determined to improve access to services which use ultrasound technology.
“Ultrasound imaging can play an important role in early diagnosis, disease monitoring and injection guidance. The availability of ultrasound within the outpatient clinic means that investigations can be completed as a ‘one stop’ service, improve patient safety and will reduce the need for return visits.
“The Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Service was developed for the region in 2014, when one of our doctors began specialist training using a dedicated ultrasound machine purchased for the Rheumatology Department.
“We have since recruited a Consultant Rheumatologist with ultrasound experience, and have other staff keen to learn.
“The acquisition of the two new machines will support this, with a portable machine playing a very significant role in delivering clinics in Stranraer.”
It is anticipated that staff now trained to provide tuition in ultrasound will mentor colleagues, including Allied Health Professionals. For example, a senior podiatrist is training in using the technology.
General Manager of Acute and Diagnostics Carole Morton said: “Our existing ultrasound equipment is in almost continual use, so the acquisition of two new ultrasound machines is very welcome.
“We’re particularly excited that Wigtownshire is now set to be so well served with a unit which will cut down the travelling times for patients – eliminating the associated stress and hassle.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can to embed services within Galloway Community Hospital and limit as much as possible the need for patients to travel to Dumfries.
“Within just over the past year we have seen the introduction of a new CT scanner in Stranraer at a cost of £500,000, a new Central Water Plant for dialysis treatment costing £100,000, and a brand new Ocular Coherence Tomography or ‘OCT’ scanner at a cost of £76,000.
“These are significant investments where we’re very grateful for the support we’ve received, and are part of an ongoing commitment to services at Galloway Community Hospital.”