Queensland’s sickest kids will be able access a dedicated state-of-the-art digital positron emission tomography (PET) service at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, thanks to a $5 million investment by the Palaszczuk Government and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The digital PET-computed tomography (CT) camera provides high-quality images of how tissues and organs are functioning, and is commonly used for diagnosing cancers, neurological and endocrinological conditions, and inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the new equipment would deliver better, safer and more accessible specialist care for Queensland children.
“The investment will make the Queensland Children’s Hospital the first paediatric hospital in Australia to offer this cutting-edge digital technology,” Mr Miles said.
“Imagine if your child needed a PET scan, currently they have to be transported by ambulance, if they are well enough to travel, to Herston and back. I’d find that really traumatic. Having a scanner on site will make it much less distressing, not to mention saving the time of our ambos so they can be out in the community saving lives.
“Currently an adult and paediatric PET-CT service is provided by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, meaning Queensland Children’s Hospital patients are transferred between the two hospitals to have these vital scans.
“Having a dedicated PET-CT scanner in the Queensland Children’s Hospital will remove this need to travel and greatly improve the experience for both patients and the clinicians caring for them.
“This new digital technology also delivers much faster scan times, and therefore, reduces the amount of radiation young patients are exposed to as part of their treatment. Faster scan times also means a shorter procedure, reducing the risks associated with long periods under anaesthetic.”
Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said demand for PET services in both adult and paediatric populations was increasing, and it was anticipated this growth would continue as PET became more prevalent as the preferred option for diagnostic imaging for certain conditions, such as cancer.
“This investment will ensure that our youngest patients can have a PET scan as soon as possible without having to leave the Queensland Children’s Hospital,” Ms Trad said.
“A dedicated PET service in the Queensland Children’s Hospital will also strengthen its existing tertiary and quaternary care service offerings and, importantly, research opportunities.”
Children’s Hospital Foundation chief executive officer Rosie Simpson said the Foundation was delighted to partner with the Queensland Government to fund this life-changing equipment for Queensland children and their families.
“This PET-CT scanner will have a demonstrable impact on thousands of Queensland children for many years to come through the ability to achieve earlier diagnoses,” Ms Simpson said.
“This significant funding has been possible through the generosity of the late Geoff Carrick who kindly left the Children’s Hospital Foundation a substantial gift in his will to ensure sick kids have the best chance of living full and healthy lives.”
Children’s Health Queensland chief executive Frank Tracey welcomed the funding announcement, saying it would significantly improve the healthcare journeys of more than 200 children every year.
“The addition of a world-class PET-CT service strengthens our capacity to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time for children and young people who need it most.”
The new digital PET-CT service is expected to be operational at the Queensland Children’s Hospital mid next year.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles