The Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill MLA, today officially opened the new MRI Scanner Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Attending the launch was Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive of the Children’s Heartbeat trust, one of the four local children’s charities who raised £2million to help fund the scanner.
The Children’s MRI Scanner Appeal was set up by four charities: Carrickmannon MRI Scanner Children’s Appeal, Helping Hand, the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund and the Children’s Heartbeat Trust. Between 2011 and 2013 they held and co-ordinated fundraising events right across NI, and this, along with funding from the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, has funded the purchase, installation and running costs of the scanner.
Like all other children’s hospitals across the UK, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will now be able to carry out investigations on patients without undergoing different types of investigation which may be invasive or involve radiation.
Speaking at the launch Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said: “We came together with the goal of raising the funds that would help the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children increase the service it gives to local children by installing an MRI scanner. Our target was to raise £2million and it was thanks to the wonderful fundraising efforts of the Northern Irish public that this amazing target was reached.
“The completion of the installation of the MRI will mean better detection for children, which will ultimately help in the treatment they are given. All four charities are delighted to have been able to support this project and we are grateful to everyone who donated and supported the appeal.”