Lavey native Anthony McKenna has a big job on his hands – literally - after was recently appointed Radiology Operations Manager at Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast.
Anthony, who plays on Lavey GAC’s hurling team, faced his first challenge at the hospital, owned by Northern Ireland’s largest private healthcare provider the 3fivetwo Group, to oversee the installation of a 1 tonne MRI scanner.
I’ve taken a few knocks on the pitch myself, so I know how it feels to be in that sort of pain for any length of time from a knee, back or shoulder injuryAnthony McKenna
The scanner, which cost £1m, is a vital element in the creation of Northern Ireland’s first private cardiac surgery unit and imaging centre at the Lisburn Road hospital.
“It took 2 weeks, a crane and a lot of patience to get the scanner into place in the new £4m unit, but it will be invaluable in helping to reduce NHS waiting lists,” said Anthony, who married Upperlands girl Diane Hutchinson earlier this year.
“The NHS target for an MRI scan is 9 weeks, but with urgent cases pushing ‘routine’ patients further down the list, some outpatients are having to wait around 18 months to have a scan to determine the exact nature of their injury.
“I’ve taken a few knocks on the pitch myself, so I know how it feels to be in that sort of pain for any length of time from a knee, back or shoulder injury. Kingsbridge is able to offer a same-day scan – and at a special rate for Ulster GAA members.”
Anthony, who graduated from Ulster University with a degree in radiography before completing a post graduate diploma in MRI at the University of Cumbria, works alongside Kingsbridge’s onsite GPs, consultants and physiotherapists.
“I’m really lucky to be working with the most up to date MRI scanner anywhere in Northern Ireland,” he said. “It’s like a large metal tube, but ours is wider than the older models and you can go into it feet first, which helps patients who are a bit nervous or claustrophobic.
“Magnetic fields and radio waves are used to form cross sectional images of the body which can tell you all sorts of things, including ailments of the brain, like tumours and dementias, sports injuries, musculoskeletal problems, spinal conditions and vascular abnormalities.
“The sooner you know what is wrong with you, the sooner you can get the right treatment and get back on your feet again. I get real job satisfaction being one of the people who can make that happen.”