No word on MRI increase for Port Alberni’s hospital

The impact to West Coast General Hospital, which is on the rotation of a mobile MRI unit on Vancouver Island, remains to be seen.

An increased demand for medical imaging scans in British Columbia led to the provincial government’s announcement of financial support in November, but changes will not happen immediately.

And the impact to West Coast General Hospital, which is on the rotation of a mobile MRI unit on Vancouver Island, remains to be seen.

The four-year strategy to increase services for people requiring MRI scans is aimed at meeting B.C.’s greatest need to date, officials said.

“With an ageing population, health authorities face increasing demand for medical imaging services,” said Premier Christy Clark.

She said the funds will help combat growing wait lists.

“We recognize that access to MRIs has been a challenge and this strategy will make sure we better meet the health care needs of British Columbians now and into the future,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

The impact on West Coast General Hospital, where there is a mobile MRI unit, is yet to be seen.

“We don’t yet have the details of the impact on our MRI volumes but there will definitely be an increase,” said Valerie Wilson, VIHA’s manager of communications for central and north Island.

“Island Health is receiving funding for 12,803 additional exams to be completed within a four-year time frame or sooner.”

In 2014-2015, Island Health performed 28,063 MRIs, an increase from 26,176 from the year before. In 2015 to 2016, the same volume as last year is expected.

Wilson said there is no timeline on the service increase, but a number of new job positions have been posted.