Damaging her knee when landing awkwardly after playing a game of tag with her children, resulted in Kirsty Crates needing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

Kirsty was able to get an MRI quickly thanks to an initiative between Pegasus Health, ACC and Pacific Radiology.

Clinical Leader of the initiative and General Practitioner at Health & Sport Central, Dr Robyn Barnes says in the four years it has been running more than 4,000 Canterbury patients have benefited from the initiative that allows general practitioners to refer patients with knee, neck, or lower back injuries directly for an MRI, rather than having to wait for a specialist appointment.

“The initiative has cut waiting times for an MRI appointment from three months to around one week,” Robyn said.

Getting a scan and then an appointment with a specialist quickly made Kirsty feel calmer about the injury and its likely impact on her, and her family’s life.

“It made me feel better knowing what was wrong and what needed to happen to be fix my knee. If I had to wait months to see a specialist, it would have been terrible. I am pleased that I can now focus on healing,” Kirsty said.

This new initiative which began in November 2018 allows specially trained general practitioners to refer eligible patients directly for an MRI and then refer them on to a specialist.

Pegasus Health Strategic Business Development Manager, Dr Akshey Shulka says the initiative has now been made available to general practices in Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, and Timaru as part of Pegasus’ efforts to reduce barriers for GPs to provide care for their patients.