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City’s new mobile X-ray service improves patient care

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department is taking more services to more communities with the introduction of a new computerised mobile X-ray vehicle. The state-of-the-art unit was unveiled last week. Read more below:

The City’s X-ray service has come a long way from its one fixed room at the Chapel Street Clinic and four mobile vans at a time when X-rays were used as a screening tool for Tuberculosis (TB).

The new mobile X-ray unit is fully computerised and hard copies of images can be printed if required. The computerized X-ray machines are loaded with high-tech features that produce high-quality images in a short time.

‘The mobile X-ray service consists of a truck fitted with an x-ray unit/machine, image processor and a computer. Clients are seen at our TB clinics and referred for X-rays if needed. Often in our townships there are no facilities nearby where the service can be rendered. This is where the truck proves its worth as we can take the service to where it’s needed,’ said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

The truck does weekly rounds at various clinics and only chest X-rays are done on the truck due to limited space and the weight of the equipment involved.

The benefits for clients are many, including:

· Less distance to walk or travel as the mobile truck can operate from the closest clinic

· No need for clients to take hard copies to consultants/referring hospitals. Consulting can be done remotely and on site as reports and x-rays can be transmitted via the Internet

· Quick reporting as the clients do not need to come for follow-up visits as reporting will take place on same day

· Less repeats of images due to lost X-rays

The benefits for the City include:

· No more harmful chemicals in use in darkrooms

· Financial benefits as less repeats are done, no chemicals, no processor maintenance

Not all City clinics are able to provide an X-ray service as it requires expensive equipment, specialised staff, adequate space and special precautions to ensure that both the radiographer and the clients are safe from the radiation.

All health facilities have made arrangements with a specific site where the X-rays for their clients are done.

‘City Health is in the process of replacing all old units with digital units at clinics which do have the service. The upgrade will take place over five years and will enable staff to send images and reports to different clinics and consulting hospitals.

‘New strides in technology means a faster, more efficient service to our clients. The City continues to strive for excellence in providing quality healthcare which in turn makes for healthier and more economically active communities,’ said Alderman Smith.

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