MRI waiting list slashed

Latest News 9 July 2019 | Counties Manukau Health is improving access to MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) by dramatically reducing its waiting list from 2,129 to 705 in just three months.

Health professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions.

In March, the demand for MRI scans and the waiting list were higher than they had ever been. Coupled with a national shortage of Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs), the MRI team knew it had to change processes and systems internally.

Working differently meant the team had to change the way five MRTs were allocated to the three MRI scanners, to operate the scanners as efficiently as possible, according to Rachael Fincham, Team Leader MRT.

The team has also created a new role, Patient Care Assistant. “It’s an extra skilled pair of hands, that assists with getting patients on and off the scanner, helps get them dressed, fill out consents, etc,” Ms Fincham says.

The service, that used to operate from Monday to Friday, is now also available over the weekend and is opening evening appointments to fit in with what is best for patients.

“Opening on weekends and evenings has been well received by patients, as it is less burdensome on family/whaanau who often have to take time off work to bring their loved ones to their appointments”, she says.

“Opening a scanner at the weekend also allows us to ‘group book’ patients; booking back-to-back scans of say, lumbar spine, means we can clear 16 scans very quickly as we don’t have to change coils between each scans”.

The team has recently received support from Translation Services to increase their services to cover some weekends. “We can now offer interpreting services on designated weekends to patients whose first language is Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi or Punjabi”, says Ms Fincham. The first language group took place earlier in June.

“We identified the changes necessary that would allow us to see more patients quicker so that we can provide the care that the population of South Auckland need and deserve”.

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