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A Plan to Use Less Powerful MRI Systems Rises Concerns in New Brunswick, Canada

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Digital radiography news A number of well known medical imaging professionals expressed their concerns in regards to a plan, suggested to be carried out at New Brunswick province in Canada, to use only 1.5T MRI systems for equipping 5 hospitals in the region. Dr. Alan Moody, the chair of the department of medical imaging at the University of Toronto and radiologist-in-chief at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, said that the plan to acquire and equip hospitals with less powerful MRI systems is not valuable on the long term.

Dr. Moody explained “I think by having a blended approach whereby you have access not only to 1.5T scanners but also a central area where you have access to 3T scanners means there will be a better quality of care,” adding  “If all of the hospitals had 1.5T scanners, then nobody in the province would have access to 3T scanning.”

New Brunswick province is planning to acquire 1.5T MRI systems for hospitals located in Saint John, Moncton, Edmundston, Miramichi in addition to Bathurst. This plan is to be carried out during the next two years, and it will cost nearly $1.8 million dollars for each MRI system. Recently, New Brunswick province did not agree on a $1 million offer to upgrade the MRI system at Saint John hospital to a 3T unit. The offer was presented by the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. This decision was criticized by a number of healthcare professionals, such as Dr. Jim Parrott, Fundy-River Valley MLA and former heart surgeon.

Another professional, Dr. John Whalen, the clinical department head of diagnostic imaging at the Saint John Regional Hospital, strongly supports the implementation of 3T MRI systems. He says that these systems have the ability to generate images with high quality, and therefore, they should be placed in New Brunswick's only accredited tertiary trauma center. He suggested so because this facility provides its patients with special services, including neurology and cardiology.

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