Cost fears over brain scan centre

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 July, 1998, 12:00am

A proposed $40 million brain scanning centre could prove too costly to run, a health expert says.

The Hospital Authority discussed a plan to set up the centre, which would cost around $12 million a year to operate and would include a laboratory, at a meeting last night.

Under the plan, the authority would buy a scanner which measures blood flow to brain cells and can diagnose cancer, heart and brain disease.

The scanner could help control seizures in epileptic patients who did not respond well to drug treatment, the authority said.

But health services legislator Michael Ho Mun-ka, of the Democratic Party, said the authority would have to see if it was cost-effective.

'They are already having to spend a lot of money on tackling the millennium bug affecting computers and crucial services may be denied necessary resources,' he said.

'The scanner also costs a lot to maintain. If they buy something this expensive it means less money for other services.' The authority discussed the possibility of buying the equipment and setting up a brain scanning centre in January last year. A spokesman said the latest proposal would have to go through a series of other discussions before a decision was made.