Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


SCAN: Shetland Can! Is aiming to raise £2 million to purchase an MRI Scanner for the Shetland Islands so that scans can be done locally and the results reported by specialists on the mainland.

This would bring quicker access to diagnostic tests and reduce unnecessary patient travel, stress and inconvenience. The savings in patient travel will be put towards staffing the MRI Scanner.

At this time over 600 patients from Shetland must travel south to Aberdeen or Glasgow to have an MRI scan each year. MRI diagnostics are used to diagnose and monitor a wide variety of conditions, such as cancer, heart conditions and dementia, and the number of patients who need them is steadily increasing.

Because Shetland is so far North, there can be delays in getting an MRI scan due to bad weather, transport delays and logistical problems in getting short notice appointments or one stop clinics. There is also the challenge of making the journey itself, which can involve time off work, and impact on family life and child care at an already difficult time.

The aims of providing MRI as a diagnostic tool in Shetland are to improve the lives of Shetland residents by:
• Reducing unnecessary travel, inconvenience and stress;
• Providing a safe, sustainable and affordable service in Shetland;
• Increasing the level of access to diagnostic tests (MRI) in Shetland, in line with best practice standards and evidence base;
• Reinvesting the cost of the patient travel associated with access for MRI scans (approximately £226,000) towards the ongoing running costs of providing a local MRI service in Shetland.

So far, residents of the Shetland community have been engaging in a variety of innovative and unique fundraising activity to support the project such as free water swimming, crabbing and knitting, raising more than £30,000 in the first few months of the project.

Harriet Middleton has first-hand experience of the need for an MRI scanner in Shetland. She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, and now every three months she has to travel to Aberdeen for a scan. Having cancer and then, in addition, having to travel for a scan isn’t a very pleasant experience. So, when Harriet saw the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal, she felt she had to do something to make it a reality. As an incredibly talented Fair Isle knitter, having learned from her mother before she could read and write, Harriet is using her talents to raise money for the appeal, selling items at craft markets and stalls across the isles.

£25,000 from the Aviva Community Fund will make a significant addition to the appeal, taking the Shetland residents a step closer to being able to access local diagnostic testing, reducing the amount of travel time needed and the associate stress and impact on daily and family life.

Project Video

Shetland Health Board Endowment Fund

Moment of Pride

Most people in Shetland know someone who has been negatively impacted by the requirement of travelling for appointments and the SCAN: Shetland Can project sees the Shetland community pulling together to overcome a local challenge to improve the lives of them, their friends and family.

Location: Lerwick