WHITEHORSE, Yukon – The first magnetic resonance imaging program in Canada’s North has opened at Whitehorse General Hospital (WGH), thanks to the joint efforts of the Yukon government, the Yukon Hospital Corporation and the community.
The new MRI scanner was supplied by Siemens Healthcare Canada Ltd., which secured a third-party contractor West Med to build the new facility with support from many Yukon specialized trades and local services.
Yukon Hospital Corp. spearheaded a successful campaign that raised $2 million for the purchase of the MRI scanner. The Yukon government matched this $2 million in funds and then contributed an additional $2.8 million to build the facility.
Premier Darrell Pasloski (pictured) was joined by Health and Social Services Minister Doug Graham, Yukon Hospital Corporation Chair Craig Tuton and Yukon Hospital Foundation (YHF) Chair Curtis Shaw to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new building, which is home to the territory’s state-of-the-art MRI scanner.
“We are incredibly proud to add MRI to our first-class diagnostic services as it can be used to evaluate with precision a wide range of conditions,” said Tuton. “With the new facility, Yukoners have a comfortable environment in which to receive the very best care, closer to home. This means improved and timelier access to an important test, which will result in less travel and quicker diagnosis – an overall more positive patient experience.”
The new MRI program is initially expected to conduct about 1,800 patient exams each year and is now accepting physician referrals for scans, which are then reviewed for safety and appropriateness.
“We have long recognized the importance of collaboration with healthcare providers to provide appropriate, affordable and seamless care and services to Yukoners. Working together with the Yukon Hospital Corporation and the Yukon Hospital Foundation on the MRI project is a perfect example of how cooperation can work to benefit all,” said Pasloski.
“Our government is proud to have invested in this enhancement to healthcare in Yukon and I’d like to thank all those who helped ensure this facility was delivered to Yukoners ahead of schedule.”
The Minister of Health and Social Services echoed the Premier’s comments. “We know the stress and strain that people experience when facing medical interventions, particularly when far from home and family. Having an MRI in the territory will reduce that stress and improve services available to Yukoners,” said Graham.
“I think Yukoners got behind this effort because we all know of someone who has had to travel out of territory for care and be away from family during a significant test or treatment,” said Shaw. “We cannot thank the community enough for its generosity in making this new MRI program a reality and ensuring quality healthcare is available right here at home.”