Fresh calls have been made for MRI funding after new figures revealed the service would significantly reduce the need for patient transfers.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said a Freedom of Information request showed around a quarter of all patient transfers to Aberdeen in recent years had been for MRI scans.
The Shetland community had been working to end its reliance on Aberdeen for MRI services, raising £1.65m for a scanner to be located at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.
However, as reported last week, Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman has told Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant that the funding to run the service could not be justified because the scanner would only be used around once a week.
Mrs Grant slammed the government for making “the same old argument” about funds.
And now, Ms Wishart has added her criticism.
“These new figures show the need for a MRI scanner at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, and evidence of real demand,” she said.
“Someone in need of an MRI in Shetland should not have to deal with the extra anxiety that goes along with a hospital appointment south.
“The local community have done an inspirational job of fundraising the money to get a MRI machine in Shetland.
“The Scottish government should respect that hard work and local desire by seriously engaging with plans to install one.
“Any patient having to take a trip to Aberdeen when it could be done locally is a trip that could be avoided and the stresses that come with it.
“I appreciate that getting a MRI machine is not as simple as turning a switch on but it is the duty of government to overcome these obstacles rather than avoid them.
“I will be writing to the health secretary with these figures and asking that she meets with the local health board and fundraisers who have got us this far.”
Ms Wishart’s figure show around a quarter of all transfers from the Gilbert Bain Hospital to Aberdeen were for MRI scans.
Separate figures used by the Scanner Appeal show around 600 patients travel south for the scans every year.