Island Health contracts out MRI scans

900 MRIs to be performed locally between now and March 31

  • Jan. 18, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

A four-year government plan to increase the number of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans in B.C. will help reduce wait-lists and travel time for patients.

Island Health has hired Vancouver Island MRI, a private clinic in Courtenay, on a temporary basis to carry out 900 MRIs locally between now and March 31. In the meantime, it will work on increasing hospital-based capacity to carry out additional volumes. To do so, Island Health needs to hire technicians, nurses and radiologists, and to increase MRI hours.

“Meanwhile, the private MRIs can take on additional capacity right away, which is great for patients and their families,” Island Health spokesperson Suzanne Germain said.

MRIs can diagnose most brain and spinal injuries, and sports injuries, among other ailments.

Scans conducted in the private setting are publicly funded, scheduled off Island Health’s wait-lists.

“The images are being read by the same radiologists that work in the hospitals and the quality, standards and service expectations are the same as if the procedure was being done at one of Island Health’s sites,” Germain said. “For the residents of Campbell River/Comox, it is great news because more scans will be done in the Valley, minimizing travel time as well as wait time.”

Island Health hopes to hire 10 FTE (full-time equivalent) MRI techs to carry out additional volumes. This includes hires north of the Malahat.

In November, the government announced a strategy to add up to 65,000 yearly scans and to provide an additional $20 million in annual funding for services by year four.