MRI at North Bay's hospital closed until mid-November

The North Bay Regional Health Centre confirms 38 union and non-unionized staff are affected by this round of cuts. (File photo)

People in the North Bay area who urgently need an MRI will have to travel out of town until November.

A spokesperson for the North Bay Regional Health Centre confirmed Friday that some appointments have already been cancelled-- five days before the scheduled downtime -- due to an unrelated equipment issue.

"The new MRI department is expected to be partially open on Nov. 15, with a full resumption of services commencing on Nov. 29," said Lindsay Smylie Smith.

Bookings will continue to be made in North Bay for when the MRI reopens, but urgent requests will be referred out of town.

"Any urgent requests for MRI service will be referred to one of the three other MRI departments in the north," Smylie Smith said.

"MRI services are provided at Timmins and District Hospital, Health Sciences North and Sault Area Hospital."

The MRI is a decade old, she said, and is in need of maintenance.

"In order to maintain the high level of MRI services for the North Bay region, investments in modern equipment must be performed and that is the work we are currently undergoing," Smylie Smith.

"This project will cause a temporary delay in MRI services (effective Aug. 30) but the benefits of modernizing the department will be felt for years to come."