The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital was the site of an exciting announcement Wednesday morning, as another MRI is coming to the Harbour City.

Through the province’s BC Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy, 28 percent more MRI exams were conducted in 2018-19, as compared to the year prior, a difference of nearly two thousand scans.

The Head of MRI at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Dr. Brent Carson said the new MRI will reduce wait times and provide specialty imaging.

“The addition of the second MRI here will allow us, number one, to put more patients through, and as such, decrease wait times for MR in the central island, said Carson. “It will also allow us to do more of that high-level specialty imaging that isn’t done in other parts of the island.”

The BC Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy launched last year and since that time Health Minister Adrian Dix is reporting that Island Health performed 28 percent more MRI exams in 2018-19 than in the year prior.

Whenever there is a discussion surrounding the health sector, wait times inevitably come up and this additional MRI will mean significantly shorter wait times.

Carson said MRI service doesn’t stop at NRGH.

“It wasn’t that long ago where our wait times for a routine MRI were a year and a half,” said Carson. “That significantly changed about a year and a half ago, when the government provided additional funding to allow us to run extended hours, so currently we run MRI 24/7 in Nanaimo.”

In 2018-19, wait times in the 50th percentile decreased from 70 to 34 days and wait times in the 90th percentile fell from 166 days to 76.

The province is covering $3.3 million dollars and the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is covering the remaining $2.2 million.