A report published last December by the Fraser Institute showed that residents of BC faced the second longest wait times in the country for MRI scans in 2012.
These numbers left many people–patients and healthcare professionals alike–confused and disappointed with the province’s public health system. Were doctors prescribing unnecessary scans, slowing down an already inflated waiting list? New research published by the BC Medical Journal has proven that this is not the case; a random sampling of approximately 2,000 imaging requisitions ordered in BC over 2010-2011 shows only a mere 2 per cent of scans were unnecessary, or inappropriate. Dr. Richard Eddy, radiologist and co-author of the study, expressed concern for patients with life-threatening conditions being forced to wait up to a year for diagnostic imaging. “…The latest data shows that BC is now in last place in Canada with respect to the number of (publicly funded) CTs and MRIs per capita, and we would need an increase in MRI examinations of 66 per cent just to catch up with the average in Canada,” he said in an interview with the Vancouver Sun.
The findings show that doctors across the province are collectively adhering to clinical guidelines when ordering diagnostic imaging, placing onus back on provincial government to step up funding on these life-saving medical services.