St George Hospital unveils newest feature, $3.5 million PET scanner

Unveiling: St George Hospital department head nuclear medicine Patrick Butler (left) alongside NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Monday. Picture: John Veage

Unveiling: St George Hospital department head nuclear medicine Patrick Butler (left) alongside NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Monday. Picture: John Veage

Cancer patients in St George and the Sutherland Shire will no longer have to make lengthy trips to access a PET scanner, following a $3.5 million project being completed at St George Hospital.

A positron emission tomography (PET) scanner was officially unveiled at St George Hospital this week.

About 10 patients a day had previously travelled out of the area to access a PET scanner, according to Oatley MP Mark Coure. “This will make a huge difference to patients and their families in what is already a very stressful time,” Mr Coure said.

The PET scanner helps to diagnose and stage a cancer, as well as provide important information during treatment.

The Gasnier Foundation, co-founded by St George Illawarra Dragons premiership-winner Mark Gasnier, has been fund raising for the scanner for over five years. Gasnier was on hand at the official opening on Monday and said it was great to finally see the scanner unveiled.

“We started the foundation in 2011 with the sole purpose of fund raising for a PET scanner at St George Hospital,” he said. “We knew if everyone got together and helped it was achievable.”

He said his father-in-law had suffered from cancer and 90 per cent of people knew of someone who had suffered from cancer. He said the new scanner would help reduce, in many cases, a long waiting list for people needing a PET scan. “It’s pretty special. It’s hard not to have a sense of pride.”

The Gasnier Foundation raised about $480,000 for the project, including a $300,000 donation from the NSW Government when the foundation launched in 2011.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard joined a group of health and Government representatives at the unveiling on Monday.

The PET scanner. Picture: John Veage

The PET scanner. Picture: John Veage

“The local community can be assured we have a world-class heath service here at St George Hospital, which is on show today with the new PET scanner facility,” Mr Hazzard said.

The project was estimated to cost $3.5 million which included the PET scanner, four patient uptake rooms, a large clinical room to accommodate the scanner and several smaller consultation rooms.

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