Following a successful fundraising campaign, generous donations, and support from the Scottish Government, patients could have MRI scans by early summer in Shetland.

The work got underway earlier today, Wednesday 28 February, on the building where the permanent MRI scanner will be sited at the Gilbert Bain Hospital. Last year, the former Estates building was demolished to make way for the work.

Prof Kathleen Carolan, Director of Nursing and Acute Services, said: “We are really pleased to be able to provide an update on the progress. The work to install the modular building that will house the scanner is underway today, and the MRI scanner itself is due to arrive in mid-April. 

“Once the MRI scanner is on-site, we will be able to start the work to undertake all of the necessary testing and setup of the scanner. We expect to see the first patients receiving their scans in early summer.

“So many people have worked on this project; huge thanks go to our Medical Imaging team, Estates and Facilities team, and to the various contractors who have helped us establish a local MRI service. This project has also been supported by NHS National Services Scotland, NHS Highland, and the Scottish Government who have provided vital specialist expertise and resources, without which we would not have been able to procure the MRI scanner.”

Lincoln Carroll, Chair of the Endowment Committee and Non-Executive Board Member, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the people of Shetland and all our donors and sponsors for helping us to achieve the fundraising goal to establish an MRI service in Shetland. We have been overwhelmed by your generosity and the support you have given the health board to be able to move forward and purchase an MRI scanner. 

“It has taken six years from the launch of the campaign, but it is fantastic that we are now so close to completing the project. It will make such a difference being able to offer MRI scans locally; we will be able to provide appointments quicker, and most people will not need to travel to Aberdeen in the future for MRI scans. The MRI scanner will play an important role in being able to offer care in Shetland and closer to home.”

The final cost to bring the MRI scanner to Shetland now stands at an estimated £3.5m. This figure includes the MRI scanner, the bespoke building, and operational running costs for the first year.

The additional costs are predominantly associated with the provision of the bespoke building that will house the MRI scanner and unforeseen earthworks in preparation for the site.

Due to global factors, there has been a rise in the cost of building services and materials since the business case for the MRI was first approved in 2018. 

Local and international fundraising from individuals and businesses has generated £1.9M in committed contributions to the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal Fund. 

To ensure that the project could move forward from the procurement stage to implementation, the Scottish Government has committed up to £1.6M in financial capital support to NHS Shetland to cover the gap between the fundraising and the cost of the building the MRI scanner will be housed in.



L-R - Lincoln Carroll, Chair of the Endowment Committee and Non-Executive Board Member, Meghan Henry and Sophie Kennerley, Radiographers, Lucy Wilson, Head of Medical Imaging and Interim Diagnostics Lead, Professor Kathleen Carolan, Director of Nursing and Acute Services,  Gary Robinson, Chair of NHS Shetland Health Board.

Published: Wednesday, 28th February 2024