MRI wait times in BC fall sharply
May 15, 2019
VICTORIA – Wait times for MRIs across British Columbia have fallen sharply during the past year after the government boosted the number of scans, according to provincial data.
The median wait time for an MRI scan in the Northern Health Authority fell 66% between April 2018 and March 2019, with a patient waiting roughly 24 days compared to the prior 71 days.
Vancouver Coastal Health saw wait times drop from 36 to 21 days, a 42% reduction, and Fraser Health saw a reduction to 48 days from 89 days, a 46% cut.
“I’m happy with the direction,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix (pictured). “This is what we intended to do.”
The data reflects elective or scheduled MRIs. Emergency scans are done immediately.
Last year, B.C. began running 10 of the province’s 33 MRI machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week and bought two privately owned MRI clinics in the Fraser Valley to expand capacity, at a cost of $11 million (plus an undisclosed amount for the clinics).
Government is adding another $5.25 million to the MRI budget next year, which Dix said will fund 15,000 additional MRI scans. Dix said the wait times should drop even further.