The MRI arriving at the hospital last November
The opening of the MRI facility at St Luke’s Hospital looks set to be delayed by at least two more months, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.
Following years of campaigning and fundraising locally, the long-awaited MRI was delivered to the hospital last November. The facility was expected to open mid-December 2021.
In a statement issued to the Kilkenny People, a spokesperson said it is now hoped it will be up and running by March this year.
Fresh concerns have also emerged over how the unit is to be staffed.
“St Luke’s General Hospital, Carlow/Kilkenny’s new MRI arrived at the hospital in Mid-November 2021. The physical facility for the new MRI will undergo final testing by late January/early February of this year,” said an Ireland East Hospital Group statement.
“St Luke’s Hospital hopes to open the new MRI facility by late February/early March. This will be dependent on other factors like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, staffing shortages and increased pressure on our health system. The management and staff of St Luke’s Hospital would again like to acknowledge and thank The Friends of St Luke’s Hospital, for their generosity in raising €250,000 for this MRI.”
Chairman of The Friends of St Luke’s Hospital Declan McCann said he was ‘disappointed’ at the delay.
“It was our understanding that the first patients would be scanned at the facility before Christmas,” he said. “We are disappointed to hear of the delay.”
Mr McCann added that his main concern is around the staffing of the facility.
“We will not be parting with the money we have raised until the MRI facility is up and running and available to the patients at St Luke’s Hospital,” he said. “My concern is around whether the HSE have made provision for staff and will they be able to operate a full time service. The HSE has had a huge amount of time to prepare for the staffing of it and additional radiographers and radiologists will be needed to operate the facility.”
A hospital spokesperson said that the new MRI ‘will be opening on phased basis starting at two days a week and will increase incrementally to a full weekday service’.
“It will be operational during normal working hours,” added the spokesperson.
The new unit is expected to cost in the region of €5 million and The Friends of St Luke’s have raised €250,000.
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