February 11, 2016

Moose Jaw Area Celebrates Local Access to MRI Services

Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health Greg Ottenbreit joined community members, business leaders and Five Hills Health Region staff for a ceremony celebrating the new MRI at Moose Jaw’s Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.

“Saskatchewan is well served by this new MRI suite, made possible thanks to the incredible support and generosity of the people and businesses in Five Health Hills Health Region,” Ottenbreit said. “This is the first MRI located outside Regina and Saskatoon. Extending this service to a new location is an important step toward meeting increased demand and ensuring that patients can be diagnosed and treated sooner, and closer to home.” 

Individuals, families, community groups and businesses responded to a Moose Jaw Health Foundation capital fundraising campaign to enable the $3.46 million equipment purchase and hospital addition. 

The Ministry of Health will cover annual operating costs of the service, which will provide up to 3,000 MRI scans during its first full year of operation.

“Having access to MRI in a regional centre gives physicians a much better timeframe to confirm their diagnosis,” the health region’s Senior Medical Officer Dr. Fred Wigmore said. “This allows doctors to initiate treatment here or expedite consultations to tertiary centres, which ultimately benefits the patient and families.” 

“The Moose Jaw Health Foundation is extremely thankful for the overwhelming support demonstrated by donors and volunteers,” health foundation Board Chair James Murdock said. “The MRI will make a difference in the lives of patients and their families for years to come. Without donor support and the hard work of volunteers the MRI would not have been possible.”

Five Hills Health Region began providing MRI services at the hospital in mid-January. About 370 patients who were waiting to receive a scan in Regina or Saskatoon had their procedures rescheduled to the hospital in Moose Jaw. 

In Saskatchewan, demand for MRIs has increased more than any other specialized imaging service. 

In response to greater demand, Saskatchewan health region MRI capacity has more than doubled since 2007-08.  The public health system is on track to provide approximately 33,500 MRIs in 2015-16, an increase of about five per cent from the previous year.