Government & Policy
Radiologists on Parliament Hill call for action
November 23, 2022
OTTAWA – Throughout the week of November 14, radiologists from across the country gathered in Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament, Senators and government officials to reiterate their call for major federal investments to improve access to medical imaging in Canada.
With recent media coverage highlighting the lengthy wait times for healthcare being experienced by Canadian patients across the country, members of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) focused their meetings on the devastating impact of excessively long wait times for medical imaging, especially as we continue to deal with disruptions from COVID-19.
“Canadian were already waiting an average of 50 to 82 days for CT scans and 89 days for MRI prior to the pandemic. This is 20 to 50 days longer than the recommended 30-day wait time,” said Dr. Gilles Soulez (pictured), president, CAR.
“According to a recent survey among our members, these delays are currently worse,” he added. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Canadians say wait times to access diagnostic imaging have worsened since the pandemic started. At the same time, with radiologists, medical radiation technologists and sonographers alike experiencing high levels of burn-out and with no solution in sight, the situation will only get worse.”
To ensure that Canadian patients across the country have access to the care they deserve, the CAR is recommending that the federal government:
- Invest $1 billion over three years for medical imaging (MI) equipment to be distributed to the provinces on a per capita basis. In conjunction, it is imperative that the Government, working with radiology stakeholders, implement a health human resources strategy, specifically hiring more medical radiation technologists (MRTs) and sonographers to help support the increased equipment capacity.
- Support the implementation of a national e-referrals program (clinical decision support) to equip referring health professionals with better access to MI guidelines, ensuring that patients receive the right imaging test at the right time.
- Harness homegrown AI applications for the strategic prioritization of health human resources, technology, and infrastructure for MI in Canada.
“Canadians who postponed diagnostic and necessary follow-up imaging early in the pandemic are now in more urgent need of care. The influx and additional requirements for those undiagnosed or with worsening conditions are compounding an already dangerous situation,” said Dr. Ania Kielar, CAR vice president and radiologist at the JDMI (Joint Division of Medical Imaging) in Toronto.
“Simply put: if we do not take action now to resolve critical resource shortages, the demand for imaging will significantly impact our healthcare system.”
Now is the time to act. Radiology departments cannot continue to sustain the overwhelming need for imaging without additional investments and patients deserve better.
About The Canadian Association of Radiologists
The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) is the national specialty society for radiologists in Canada. Committed to promoting the highest standards of patient care, lifelong learning, research, and helping radiologists contribute to patients’ very best healthcare, CAR is the national voice for medical imaging excellence in patient care.