A SPECT-CT will soon be available to patients of South Shore Regional Hospital.

The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nova Scotia Health to raise an additional $900,000 in support of the SPECT-CT scanner as part of its fundraising efforts for the South Shore Regional Hospital Redevelopment Project.

The addition of this new technology will increase the Foundation’s fundraising goal to $6.6-million.

A SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)-CT is a form of nuclear medicine that combines the x-ray images of a traditional CT-scan with a 3D gamma radiation-camera, to give a 360-degree scan of a patient. This type of nuclear medicine is an important diagnostic tool for oncology (cancer), cardiology (heart), nephrology/urology (kidney), respirology (lung) and a wide range of other specialties including sports medicine and surgery.

Dr. Chen Meng, a Radiologist at South Shore Regional Hospital, says this will result in major improvements when analyzing a patient’s medical issues and needs.

“A SPECT-CT adds the benefit of a CT-scanner to a nuclear medicine scanner. For example, this will prove to be a significant improvement in care for cancer patients waiting for their diagnosis, particularly during this pandemic era where long wait times for diagnostic imaging tests are already impacting patients. A SPECT-CT will improve efficiency, decrease CT-scan wait times by freeing up our current CT-scanner, and provide a secondary backup CT scanner for when our primary machine is down for repair (for emergency cases). It will bring South Shore Regional Hospital to the same standard of care the rest of province and country experiences.”

Foundation Brighter Days Campaign Co-Chairs David Himmelman and Tim O’Regan are confident the new fundraising goal will be achievable, especially where this will be the only SPECT-CT scanner on the South Shore.

“Our early fundraising efforts for the redevelopment project are going well” says O’Regan. “The point of this project is to bring a higher level of health care efficiency to the South Shore. Our fundraising volunteers are excited to be able to bring this new technology to South Shore Regional as another way of keeping our hospital equipped with the most modern technology possible.”

Himmelman echoes those thoughts. “We learned of the high need for a SPECT-CT at South Shore Regional and were excited to help. We recognize it’s important to have the best equipment to retain and attract the best doctors to the South Shore. With the help of our generous community, we are aiming to get the new technology in the hands of our local diagnostic health care professionals as soon as possible.”

Health Services Foundation Board Chair Nick Saunders is very thankful the Brighter Days’ fundraising committee is tackling this important health care initiative.

“The addition of a state-of-the-art SPECT-CT scanner at South Shore Regional is an amazing accompaniment to the already wonderful project taking place at that site. Having these services available in our community will allow our wonderful South Shore medical staff to meet the ever-increasing needs of our residents as Lunenburg County continues on a growth trajectory. The Foundation’s Brighter Days fundraising team is ambitious and committed to making local health care the best it can be to serve our friends and neighbours.”

Nuclear medicine is performed in nine hospitals across Nova Scotia. As of 2022, South Shore Regional Hospital is one of only two hospitals without local access to a SPECT-CT scanner in the province.

The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore and its Brighter Days fundraising cabinet are very excited and committed to raising $6.6-million in support of the South Shore Regional Hospital Redevelopment Project. It will have more news to share on its volunteer-led fundraising effort in the coming months.