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To reduce wait times and increase access, a second MRI machine will be installed at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement Wednesday morning outside NRGH.

“This investment will make it easier for people to get access to this important diagnostic tool when they need it,” says Minister Dix.

Dr. Brent Carson, head of medical imaging for NRGH, said the new machine will significantly relieve pressure at the hospital.

"There are patients that currently need to spend time as an in-patient or in the emergency department waiting for their scans," Carson said.

In 2018-19, more than 49,000 scans were performed across Island Health's coverage area, according to the health authority. More than 11,000 of those scans were performed at NRGH, which was nearly 2,000 more than in 2017-18.

The project will cost a total of $5.5 million and is expected to be in operation by the spring of 2020.