B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, alongside Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, announces that a second MRI machine will be operational at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital by next spring. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin)

Second MRI machine coming to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

MRI machine to be operational in spring 2020

Nanaimo residents won’t need to wait as long for an MRI.

The provincial government announced this week that work has begun on adding a second magnetic resonance imaging machine at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The new MRI machine is expected to be operational by April 2020. The entire project will cost $5.5 million, with $3.3 million funded by the province and $2.2 million provided by the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District.

Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health, who made the announcement on Wednesday in front of NRGH, said a second MRI machine will benefit the entire community.

“This is a significant step forward for the Nanaimo region,” he said. “It shows our determination, not just to have made changes we’ve made to maximize the use of MRI machines, but to continue to provide better service at this hospital.”

According to the Ministry of Health, a total of 11,264 MRI scans were performed at the Nanaimo hospital in 2018-19, which is an increase of roughly 2,000 from the year prior. Dix said wait times have been reduced at NRGH largely because of increased use of the existing MRI machine, which now operates on a 24/7 basis, over the last year.

“At the 50th percentile, meaning half the wait times were faster and half were slower for MRIs, [NRGH] went from 70 days to 38 days. At the 90th percentile, the longest wait times, we went from 166 days to 76 days,” he said.

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson said the expansion of existing MRI services at the hospital have already made a big impact on people’s lives in Nanaimo and that a new MRI machine will be even more beneficial.

“The work that we are trying to do as a government is make changes that are implemented and acted and are in action early enough that people can see the difference in their lives,” she said. “This isn’t just a change in policy, this is a change on the ground.”

RELATED: Nanaimo hospital will get a new $34-million intensive care unit

Coun. Ian Thorpe, who is also chairman of the hospital district, said the MRI unit is “very much” needed and will benefit the entire region.

“We often refer to the building behind me simply as the Nanaimo hospital, but let’s not forget that it is in fact a Nanaimo regional hospital, serving the entire region and the population of our region is growing tremendously, meaning that increased demands are being put on our local health care system,” he said. “The regional district board greatly appreciates the continued provincial support for needed upgrades to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, to ensure that this facility can grow and continue to support our community adequately.”

The announcement is part of the B.C. surgical and diagnostic imaging strategy, which aims to reduce wait times and better utilize existing machines and equipment.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo bylaw officers on the lookout for COVID-19 control infractions

Bylaw and health officers watch for health order infractions, citizens can call in complaints

Nanaimo arenacross racer wins double championship

Sebastian Sulyok takes first overall on Futures West 85cc series

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

Nanaimo barbershop quartet records musical tribute to Dr. Bonnie Henry

Ode to provincial health officer is to the tune of a singing valentine

Nanaimo school district uses contingency fund for emergency school repairs

Nanaimo district staff expect about $2.7 million as its annual facilities grant from the province

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Nanaimo will be the community hardest-hit by ferry layoffs, union says

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union looking at its legal options

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Most Read