A new cardiac echo ultrasound starts up in Taupō Hospital today and is expected to be used on hundreds of patients each year.

The new echocardiogram, or heart scanner, was fundraised for by the Taupō Hospital and Health Society.

Up until now, patients from the Taupō and Tūrangi area who needed an echocardiogram had to travel to Rotorua Hospital.

Around 600 southern Lakes district patients will have an echocardiogram each year.

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The society fundraised for 18 months for the echo ultrasound.

Clinical support service manager Roger Lysaght said the unit was received from the supplier GE Healthcare, in late December.

He said GE engineers had been working to set up the new system to enable testing by Lakes District Health Board staff in the Clinical Physiology department.

The system was being configured to allow images to be sent to Rotorua, which would mean cardiology staff in Rotorua could review and report on the ultrasounds.

Lysaght said a new cardiac echo sonographer had been hired, and Rotorua–based staff would travel to Taupō two days each week to provide the service.

Society president Lil Hancock said the fundraising was a huge effort with tremendous buy-in from society membership, members of the public, businesses and a host of organisations and trusts.

Lakes DHB chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said the DHB was very grateful to have had such strong support from the Taupō Hospital and Health Society.

About the Taupō Hospital and Health Society

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It donated a total of $850,000 towards the redevelopment of Taupō Hospital and contributed towards the Tūrangi Community Health Centre, which opened in October 2008.

Over 27 years, the society also fundraised for and purchased a host of medical equipment and patient comfort items.