CT scanner for Sea to Sky one step closer 

Fundraising campaign kick starts scanner purchase

By Vivian Moreau

Whistler could have a CT scanner up and running in just over one year, depending on how quickly money can be raised for the $2 million project.

Whistler Health Care Foundation launched a fundraising campaign this week to raise money for the purchase and installation of a computerized axial tomography scanner for the Whistler Health Care Centre that will provide service for patients from Pemberton to Squamish.

A $275,000 donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation kicked off the campaign for the much-needed scanner that will enable physicians to arrive at definitive diagnoses for many of the 23,000 patients that each year pass through the Whistler Health Care Centre.

“And by making a better diagnosis more patients may not need to be evacuated by air out of Whistler, so there is a saving of money by not sending people unnecessarily,” said Marnie Simon the health care foundation’s chairperson.

The fundraising campaign is an important milestone for the three health care centres of Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish who worked together for years to lobby the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority about the necessity of a CT scanner for the Sea to Sky region. The health authority has agreed to provide operating funds for the scanner as of April, 2008 but will not contribute to capital funds that cover purchase and installation.

Whistler and Squamish health care foundations are providing $130,000 and Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District will fund 40 per cent of the capital costs. Pemberton’s health care foundation will also contribute an undisclosed sum.

The scanner, which will need space about the size of an average bungalow’s living room and will require a small renovation for the Whistler Health Care Centre, needs to be up and running by the 2008 ski season, Simon says.

“Because we’re going to have a lot of athletes here training and this is really necessary equipment for all the trauma we have here,” she said.

A steering committee made up of the regional hospital district, the health authority and three health care foundations will oversee management of the scanner’s purchase and installation.

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