Yarmouth Hospital Foundation Sets Sights on MRI for South West Nova Scotia

The Yarmouth Hospital Foundation has unanimously passed a motion pledging  support for an MRI for South West Nova Scotia. The Board of Directors instructed the Foundation’s Executive to meet with government departments, elected officials and other agencies to solicit support for the immediate approval and placement of an MRI at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital.

Since the motion was passed, the Foundation has held several meetings with  South West Health officials and local MLAs including provincial cabinet ministers Chris d’Entremont and Richard Hurlburt.   Meetings have also been held with the  Provincial Minister of Health, Angus MacIsaac and the Associate Deputy Minister of Health, Cheryl Doirion.

The Foundation has informed  South West  Health and the Department of Health of our desire to support this important acquisition financially and is prepared to spearhead a campaign to solicit funds and support from the community for this vital piece of equipment.   The successful completion of the CT Scan campaign in 2003 demonstrates the willingness of the community to support the placement of new diagnostic equipment at our regional health centre.

The major issues regarding MRI are availability and accessibility.  With these issues at the forefront,  the Provincial Department of Health is involved in a study to determine the site of the next  MRI placement.  A  cabinet decision  is expected shortly.

“Without an MRI our residents will continue to be at a disadvantage as compared to patients in several other regions of the province.  Having an MRI in Yarmouth sends a strong message to residents of Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth County that they can get the tests they need closer to home.”

David Arenburg, Chair, Yarmouth Hospital Foundation

If a unit was based in Yarmouth  we could act as the apex of a triangle servicing both sides of the south western end of the province.  This would also provide access to those currently excluded by reasons of geography, age or financial inability to travel outside the region”” 
Dr. William Paulick, Chief of Radiology

In addition to improving health care for residents of South-western Nova Scotia, an MRI would also enhance ongoing efforts for physician recruitment and retention at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital.

Not only is an MRI needed clinically, we need the right tools, like an MRI, to attract and retain physicians to this area.”
Dr. Parkash, District Chief of Staff

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Facts:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a method for taking pictures of the inside of your body without radiation.  Placing the body in a strong magnetic field makes MRI images.  The images produced allow physicians to see detailed pictures of the body in order to diagnose various health problems
  • There are currently five clinical MRI machines serving patients in Nova Scotia,  three are located in Halifax (two at the QEII, one at the IWK), one at the Cape Breton Regional Health Centre and one privately operated MRI is located in Dartmouth.
  • Yarmouth Regional Health Centre  is the farthest distance from any MRI in the province.
  • MRIs have emerged as a standard clinical tool for diagnosis, with particular application in neurology and orthopedics
  • Current purchase price for a new MRI is estimated to be from 1.5 to 2.5 million.  The Yarmouth Hospital Foundation is committed to raising 25% of the total cost of the unit.

The Provincial Department of Health is involved in a study to determine the appropriate placements for  MRIs in our Province.