14 February 2017

Cancer patients in the St George and Sutherland Shire community will have the convenience of state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment in their local hospital with the opening of a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner at St George Hospital.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard joined Member for Oatley Mark Coure, along with hospital staff, patients and fundraisers to officially open the new PET scanner facility.

Mr Coure said up to ten patients a day had previously had to travel out of area to hospitals including Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown and to Liverpool Hospital to access PET scanners.

“This will make a huge difference to patients and their families in what is already a very stressful time,” Mr Coure said.

“The NSW Government is prioritising the care and convenience of patients in the St George and Sutherland Shire areas.”

Mr Hazzard thanked local fundraisers who, through the Gasnier Foundation, had also contributed towards the project.

“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.”

The project is estimated to cost $3.5 million, inclusive of the PET scanner and purpose built refurbishment, with four patient uptake rooms, a large clinical room to accommodate the scanner and several smaller consultation rooms.

The PET scanner is an important clinical tool in identifying a wide variety of cancers. It is used throughout a patient’s diagnosis and treatment by providing important clinical information through three-dimensional imaging. PET scanners are also used in areas of neurology and cardiology, such as studying the brain's blood flow, recognising changes in the brain that may cause epilepsy and locating damaged heart tissue following a heart attack.

The introduction of the PET scanner to St George Hospital will enable the nuclear medicine team to continue to provide the highest level of care and treatment to patients referred to the hospital from throughout New South Wales.