MRI machine coming to Brockville General Hospital in 2023

Brockville General Hospital in Brockville, Ont. on Thursday, Oct. 28. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

The Ontario government announced Thursday that it will invest in annual operating costs towards a new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine at Brockville General Hospital (BGH).

The announcement was made by Leeds Grenville - Thousand Islands- Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark, in front of a small crowd at the hospital.

"Although we are announcing what is a piece of equipment, it's the tool that will allow our doctors, our clinicians, our nurses, everybody in this hospital to provide top quality service," said BGH board chair Micheal Adamcryck.

"Right now we have people travelling up and down the highways to receive an MRI and it's just not acceptable. As it was pitched to me at a board meeting, this is the gold standard in diagnostic equipment and I have no doubt that we are a better community because of it."

MRI machines are used to diagnose medical conditions such as abnormalities of the brain, tumours, cysts and soft-tissue injuries.

"It's a premier diagnostic tool for bones, joints, muscles, solid organs," said Dr. Andrew Hamilton, Brockville General Hospital's chief of staff.

"It doesn't just identify anatomy, but it can look at physiology, so it's an absolutely important high tech up-to-date tool and I'm grateful for it to be added to Brockville general," Hamilton said.

Local residents would have to travel to Kingston, Cornwall or Ottawa to access MRIs, with a waiting average of up to four to five months, which can impact diagnosis and quality of life.

"Together we've delivered to ensure that patients in our region and our front line healthcare providers have the tools like this MRI that they need," said Clark.

"Many people travel to Kingston, to Ottawa to get this service and I had to travel to Kingston when I needed an MRI," he added.

The cost of the MRI machine and the building it will be housed in is estimated to cost $6 million.

"Each organization needs approval from the government for an MRI service and also comes with operational dollars," said president and CEO of BGH Nick Vlacholias. 

"Today is the announcement for the approval of the MRI, plus operational dollars and then we have to raise the local share with regards to the capital costs," he added, saying those costs are made possible through generous community donations.

The hospital expects the MRI to be fully operational in late 2023.