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Diagnostic imaging

New Brunswick to acquire four new MRI scanners

MONCTON, N.B. - The government of New Brunswick is investing in four new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to be used at hospitals in Moncton, Edmundston, Bathurst and Saint John. The replacement of two older scanners and the addition of two new units represents one of the largest single purchases of diagnostic equipment in the province’s history.

The announcement was made by Premier Shawn Graham, in Moncton, Health Minister Mary Schryer, in Saint John, Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny, in Bathurst, and Donald Arseneault, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour minister and minister responsible for the Northern New Brunswick Initiative, in Edmundston.

“This multi-million dollar announcement represents an historic investment in medical equipment that will benefit all regions of the province, and it will build the high quality health and senior care systems we need to become a self-sufficient New Brunswick,” said Graham.

(Photo: From left: Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty; Health Minister Mary Schryer; and Dr. John Whalen, clinical department head of diagnostic imaging, Saint John Regional Hospital.)

To maximize cost savings, a single Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued for the new MRIs this month; the new scanners should be in place by March 2011, according to the New Brunswick government.

The Edmundston Regional Hospital and the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, currently served by mobile units, will receive new permanent units. The new scanners at the Moncton Hospital and at the Saint John Regional Hospital will replace existing machines. Schryer said the equipment will benefit patients and support the efforts of physicians to deliver high-quality care.

“Access to diagnostic imaging equipment is vital for the timely diagnosis and treatment of patients,” said Schryer. “By proceeding with a single RFP to purchase new equipment, we hope to maximize cost savings and take advantage of opportunities made possible by the new regional health authority structure.”

Stéphane Legacy, vice-president of professional and diagnostic services for Regional Health Authority A, said the new fixed MRIs at the Edmundston and Bathurst hospitals will ensure access for area residents.

“These fixed units will enable us to reduce the wait time for patients while offering physicians a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool,” said Legacy. “In addition, this equipment will greatly enhance our chances of recruiting and retaining specialized MRI technologists.”

Donald J. Peters, president and CEO of the Horizon Health Network, said the new MRI units for Moncton and Saint John will replace aging units and modernize equipment required for timely diagnosis of patients.

”We are very pleased with this announcement which highlights the provincial governments’ strong commitment to ensuring quality patient care,” said Peters. “The Diagnostic Imaging Departments at the Moncton and Saint John Regional Hospitals are two of the busiest in the province. This updated equipment will ensure our patients have access to up-to-date diagnostic and treatment tools when they visit our facilities.”

Published February 11,2010