Poots announces £2.75m MRI investment

Edwin Poots announced £2.75m funding towards a scanner at Saturday's event.

Health Minister Edwin Poots has revealed his department will invest £2.75m towards an MRI Scanner at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Sunday, 11 November 2012
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Mr Poots announced the cash boost during the Royal Does Strictly fundraising event, which saw UTV's Alison Fleming and Marc Mallett join other well-known faces in a dance-off over the weekend.

There is currently no MRI scanner at the hospital, which means ill children are sent to London and Dublin for the scans that are used to diagnose and treat cancer and brain disorders.

A scanner for the Royal will cost £4m and the MRI Scanner Appeal aims to donate half of that by March 2013.

Minister Poots said the Department of Health's contribution was an important step in ensuring sick children have access to appropriate diagnostic services.

"I am delighted to announce that I have conditionally approved the business case in respect of the scanner and will invest £2.75m from my Department's capital expenditure programme for this project," he explained.

The Health and Social Care Board will provide ongoing running costs of £1.9m each year and per year.

The Minister added: "I would like to thank and congratulate all those who have been involved in raising much needed funds for the Scanner Appeal.

"This partnership working will ensure this vital service is delivered and your commitment will make a real difference to the children and families in need of these facilities."

The Royal Does Strictly event raised more than £100,000 for the MRI Scanner Appeal, after two sell-out nights at the weekend.

On Friday, BBC's Martina Purdy and her dance partner Bill McCallion, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon were voted winners of the preview evening.

But the following night Dr Deirdre Peake and her dance partner 'Fitness' Freddie Kinnersley took the coveted first place.

Dr Deirdre Peake, who is a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, organised the evening.

"Having an MRI scanner at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will benefit sick or injured children from all over Northern Ireland and allow us to provide an enhanced service with early diagnosis and treatment by staff trained in the care of children and in a child-friendly environment," she explained.