A new MRI machine is coming to Nanaimo Regional Hospital to help increase patient access to MRI services. It is expected to be in place in 2018.
“The additional MRI equipment will allow patients in our region to receive treatment earlier with faster diagnosis,” said Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell. “The government is following through with its commitment to mid and north island residents to increase MRI capacity at Nanaimo Regional Hospital.”
This will be the second MRI in Nanaimo.
“This new MRI will allow Island Health to improve wait times and ultimately the quality of care of the patients we serve,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, Island Health president and chief executive officer. “This is great news.”
Full cost will be determined through a procurement process. Typical cost for a new MRI is approximately $5 million.
Today’s announcement supports B.C.’s MRI strategy released in 2015 to help address increasing demand and existing waitlists. The strategy committed to ramping up the number of scans performed over four years, to reach 65,000 more procedures annually by 2019. Under the strategy, the Ministry of Health and health authorities are also examining improvements to the governance, service delivery and funding models for MRI programs, to establish an accessible, sustainable medical imaging system.
Over the past decade, B.C. has acquired 16 new MRI scanners for hospitals, for a total of 25 or a 178% increase. This has helped B.C. significantly increase the number of MRIs done in the public system over the past 10 years from 67,030 in 2004-05 to over 151,000 in 2015-16.
Health authorities will also provide more evidence-based guidance to physicians to help them order the best type of scan to meet each patient’s specific medical needs. MRI scans are important diagnostic tools. However, different types of medical imaging can be used to diagnose certain conditions. In some cases, an x-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scan may be more appropriate.
MRI is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body's organs and structures. MRIs are used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including abnormalities of the brain, as well as tumours, cysts and soft-tissue injuries in other parts of the body.
The B.C. government is making record investments in modern, safe infrastructure projects throughout the province. In doing so, these construction projects are creating well-paying, family-supporting jobs. These investments are possible because of the fiscal plan of the B.C. government.