Call for mobile MRI

After months of indecision, the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has put out a call for a mobile MRI service.

The health authority announced Wednesday it issued a request for proposals looking for equipment to run the mobile MRI service for the second time nine months.

The mobile service is expected to rotate between hospitals in Campbell River, the Comox Valley, Port Alberni and Duncan so patients will no longer have to travel to Nanaimo or Victoria for MRI scans.

“The issuing of the (Request for Proposal) welcome news for patients living on the North Island, West Coast and in the Cowichan Valley,” said Comox Valley MLA Don McRae in a press release. “The coming expansion of medical imaging services will be a huge benefit to patients.”

The news comes months after the health authority announced it would not pursue a mobile MRI.

In April, VIHA issued its first request for the service only to turn them all down, citing cost factors. Then in July, VIHA said it would no longer pursue a mobile unit, much to the chagrin of North Island NDP MLA Claire Trevena.

“It has been described by some in the medical community as ‘devastating’ and ‘as if the rug were pulled out from under us,’” Trevena said at the time.

Two months later, in October, VIHA did change its mind.

It is anticipated the mobile MRI service will be in operation by early summer.

MRI is a specialized technology that uses magnetic and radio waves to allow radiologists to see inside the body.


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