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MRI wait times among the longest in the province for London, Ont. area patients

Posted: March 28, 2024

(March 27, 2024) By: Bryan Bicknell, CTV News

Newly released provincial data shows London and area hospitals have some of the longest wait times in the province to receive an MRI scan.

That’s a major concern, according to health watchdog Ontario Health Coalition. London representative Peter Bergmanis said the long waits can take a toll on patients.

“Well I would think I’d be very stressed out and I also wouldn’t want to have that worry on top of what a diagnosis could be,” said Bergmanis.

According to the data from Ontario Health, as of January 2024, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) University Campus had an average wait of 230 days for an MRI scan for the lowest priority patients.

Overall, it only met its MRI target times 16 per cent of the time.

The wait at LHSC Victoria was 218 days with 21 per cent of patients receiving scans within the target time. While at St. Joseph’s Health Care the wait was 92 days, but only 13 per cent of patients received scans on time.

The provincial average was 91 days, with 31 per cent on time.

LHSC Clinical Diagnostics Executive John French said he’s hoping the long waits will become a thing of the past as new MRI machines have recently been installed, and new staff have been trained.

“This is an area of concern for us,” said French. “Currently we’re trying to improve it. And the means to improve it is by improving the technology, the equipment that we have, and making sure we have the adequate staffing to operate that equipment.”

OPSEU 106 President Steve McCaw, who represents MRI technologist among other health care staff, said the province only funds so many hours per week for MRI scans, so the machines sit for several hours every week without getting used.

“So to me, there’s still the capacity to staff these scanners to run more hours if the provincial funding allowed them to do so,” said McCaw.

At Stratford General Hospital, just 16 per cent of patients received an MRI scan within the target time, with an average wait for low priority patients of 147 days.

Woodstock General has an average wait of 176 days with 17 per cent of patients scanned within target time.

MRI wait time data was not available for hospitals in Sarnia Lambton, Chatham-Kent, or Windsor, which were all targeted in a major cyber attack last year.

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