A medical service vital to many suffering painful conditions in Wigtownshire is to be available on their doorstep for the first time.
Up until now, folk suffering musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatism had to travel to Dumfries for ultrasound scanning.
New investment in ultrasound technology is set to improve the treatment experience of people – sparing them lengthy trips to Dumfries.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway has been undertaking a service review to reduce travel for the west of the region, enabling patients to be seen nearer to their homes.
The purchase of new high-tech ultrasound technology will enhance rheumatology clinics dealing with conditions such as inflammatory arthritis and tendon and ligament disease that are delivered at Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.
Dr Lucy Moran, Associate Specialist in Rheumatology, said: “This development not only represents significant funding, but also a commitment by staff who are determined to improve access to services which use the technology.
“Ultrasound imaging can play an important role in early diagnosis, disease monitoring and injection guidance. The availability of it within the outpatient clinic means that investigations can be completed as a ‘one stop’ service.
“The Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Service was developed for the region in 2014, when doctors began specialist training using a dedicated ultrasound machine purchased for the rheumatology department.
“We have since recruited a Consultant Rheumatologist with ultrasound experience, and have other staff keen to learn.
“The acquisition of the two new machines will support this, with a portable machine playing a significant role in delivering clinics in Stranraer.”
It is anticipated that staff now trained will provide tuition in ultrasound and will mentor colleagues, including allied health professionals, with a senior member of the podiatry service training to use the technology.