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Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) has submitted a business case to the South West Local Health Integration Network seeking approval to purchase a CT scanner for its Southampton Hospital.

In a GBHS media release, the corporation’s only scanner is located at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital and each year about 10 percent of the 12,500 CT scans are provided to patients from the Saugeen Shores and Wiarton areas.

“When ER patients in Southampton need a CT scan, they are transported by ambulance to Owen Sound with a nurse,” said Maureen Solecki, GBHS interim President and CEO. “With a CT in Southampton, we can reduce wait times for patients across the region, keep our nurses off the road and in hospital where they are needed and reduce costs associated with ambulance transfers. And, with the recent expansion to our Southampton Hospital, we have the ideal space to accommodate this equipment.”

The Saugeen Shores population has grown significantly in the past decade and visits to the Southampton ER have increased to 17,000 annually.

“The CT scanner is a key diagnostic tool for many illnesses and with the high volume of traffic in the ER, we are seeing a rise in the number of patients requiring a CT,” said Dr Dave Billings, Chief of ER for Southampton Hospital. “This test provides us with the results we need to start treatment and for many patients, the faster we begin treatment, the better the outcome.”

The Owen Sound Hospital CT runs five days a week, 9.5 hours per day for scheduled visits, and is available 24 hours, 7 days a week for urgent cases. The addition of a CT in Southampton will help GBHS better manage the volume of CT patients and ensure continuity of service when the equipment in Owen Sound is down for maintenance.

If the LHIN supports the business case, the request will be forwarded to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for final approval. The Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation has committed to raising funds to cover the full cost of the equipment purchase and installation.