N.B. invests $3 million in mobile-MRI
BATHURST – A new $3-million mobile-MRI unit has been acquired to serve
patients in three New Brunswick regions – the Restigouche Health
Authority, the Acadie-Bathurst Health Authority and the Miramichi
Regional Health Authority.
From the back of a transport truck, the MRI team can scan patients for
problems in their bones, joints and organs.
Health Minister Brad Green took part in the launch event, held in April.
Also taking part were Patricia Talbot, member of the board of directors
of the Restigouche Health Authority; chair Gabriel Godin of the
Acadie-Bathurst Health Authority; and chair Patrick Finnigan of the
Miramichi Regional Health Authority.
“This new mobile MRI replaces an 11-year-old unit, is much more
powerful, and will provide enhanced quality of diagnostic images and the
ability to offer more services within the regions,” said Green. “For
example, the three regions can now perform cardiac and advanced breast
imaging, services for which patients previously had to travel to other
areas to receive.”
“The Restigouche Health Authority is extremely pleased with the new
mobile MRI,” Talbot said. “This enhanced technology allows us to do
diagnostic examinations not previously provided in Health Region 5,
which means patients will no longer have to travel outside the region to
obtain these services. The quality of the images produced by this unit
and the time reduction to do an examination will definitely make the
service more efficient.”
“This investment in high technology demonstrates the government’s desire
to improve access to health services in northern New Brunswick,” Godin
said. “With the added capabilities of the new MRI unit, our physicians
will no longer have to refer patients to outlying areas for certain
procedures,” Finnigan said. “The new MRI service will allow even more
patients to remain in their
communities for this important diagnostic service.”
MRI technology is used for a range of medical-diagnostic purposes,
provides clear, state-of-the-art images of soft tissues such as internal
organs, and is ideal for spine and joint problems.
Green said government has worked hard since June 1999 to expand and
enhance MRI coverage around the province.
In addition to the new mobile unit, there are MRI units at the Dr.
Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton, The Moncton Hospital and
the Saint John Regional Hospital, as well as a mobile unit shared by
regions 3 and 4.
Plans call for a fixed-MRI unit to be located at the Dr. Everett
Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton by 2007, which will allow the
existing mobile unit that now serves the Chalmers hospital and the
Edmundston Regional Hospital to be used exclusively by the Edmundston
hospital and the new hospital under construction in Waterville.
In 2004-05, $6 million was invested in operating costs for MRI units in
the province, which provided almost 25,000 MRI exams.