Surrey: Year two of the B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy continues to move forward, with the opening of a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey.
“A clear diagnosis is the first step toward treatment and recovery. We are continuing to make strides towards reducing wait times for MRI exams,” said Premier John Horgan. “This new, state-of-the-art MRI machine will deliver over 5,000 exams this year and make sure that people in Surrey can count on faster, better health care closer to home.”
The B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy launched in March 2018. In the strategy’s first year, the province exceeded its targets and completed 233,369 MRI exams provincewide. This is a 23% increase over the 189,376 exams performed in 2017-18. By running existing MRI machines longer and more efficiently and adding new MRIs, the total number of exams is expected to increase to more than 248,000 in 2019-20.
“Last year government launched the new strategy and people are already benefiting throughout the province and in this region,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “For example, in Fraser Health more than 65,300 MRI exams were performed last year, a 17% increase from the previous year. In March 2019, the median wait time for an outpatient MRI exam was 48 days or less, compared to 50% patients waiting 89 days or less in April 2018.”
“This year, we are continuing the work to improve access and reduce waits for people living in Surrey and the Fraser Valley. In addition to the new MRI at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, last year we also purchased new MRI clinics in Abbotsford and Surrey to continue investing in the infrastructure and capacity needed to reduce wait times for the publicly funded MRI exams people count on,” added Dix.
This is the second new MRI machine at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, and the first 3T MRI in the Fraser Health region to be used as part of the strategy. 3T MRIs work more quickly and produce higher quality images with shorter turnaround between patients. Having a second MRI machine at the centre means that it will be able to deliver cardiac MRI services in Surrey for the first time and will help increase the total number of MRIs for waiting patients in the Fraser region.
The total project cost is $6.2 million, with $5.5 million provided by the Ministry of Health, $500,000 by the Surrey Hospital Foundation and $200,000 from Fraser Health.
• The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre will be the second site, following the Royal Columbian Hospital, to provide cardiac MRI services in Fraser Health.
• In total, the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre is expected to provide more than 13,000 MRI exams in 2019-20.
• In 2018-19, Fraser Health completed more than 65,300 MRI exams, compared to 55,700 the previous year.
• A 3T MRI has a stronger magnet that can create higher quality images, while also having a shorter run time, allowing for more patients to be seen throughout the day.
• In September 2018, Fraser Health purchased two privately owned MRI clinics in Surrey and Abbotsford to increase access to diagnostic services.
• An MRI scan is one of the tools 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.