The CT scanner project, which was announced last year, was funded by a $1.15 million partnership between Rio Tinto and Old Mapoon Aboriginal Corporation, together with a $1.35 million contribution from the state government.
Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service chief executive, Bev Hamerton said the opening of the CT scanner service was a major milestone for the Weipa Hospital.
“The new CT scanner means between 40 and 50 patients a month from Weipa and the wider Western Cape region will no longer need to travel out of the region for clinical investigation,” she said.
“To date, 84 patients already have been able to have a scan at Weipa instead of having to travel away.
“With the scanner on site, Weipa doctors and visiting specialists can perform more services here in Weipa.
“This will allow the continued delivery of high-quality health care within the Western Cape region and faster access to potentially lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke and other medical conditions.”
Rio Tinto’s Michelle Elvy said the company was proud to be a part of the pioneering partnership.
“This project has been a true reflection of the value of partnerships and the importance of continuing to work together for sustainable community outcomes,” she said.
“Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of the people and communities in which we live and operate, and it is fantastic to see all parties working together to provide more accessible and sustainable health services.”
Old Mapoon Aboriginal Corporation chair William Busch said the delivery of the new CT scanner services would be a great benefit for all the communities around the Western Cape.
“I know of people that just don’t want to go to Cairns when they should to have scans and other services. It will be great to see better access to necessary services up here.”
Ms Hamerton said the introduction of a CT scanning service at Weipa would help attract and retain staff.
She said a full-time radiographer was being recruited to support the new service.